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Favorite Scenes
The part when Kei brought Fuse to a rooftop carnival. That was a poignant scene, because Fuse doesn't look like the person to go have some fun, and Kei is showing her how, if only to show him how spectacular the view from the rooftop is (no, they didn't have any carnival rides, though). Oh, and their one and only kissing scene is also a favorite. It may be short, but sweet ^_^

 

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Synopsis | Review

When I sorted through my stack of unwatched anime, I saw that Jin-Roh is a movie that's only about an hour and a half long. Anime marathons tend to get tiring, and so it was a welcome change to watch a short, one-shot anime. I didn't know what was in store for me with Jin-Roh, haven't made any effort to read reviews of it, just popped to disc in the tray and went in for the ride.

When the ending credits showed, I felt as if I was drained. Emotionally.

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade was written by Mamoru Oshii, well-known for his Ghost in the Shell movie. Jin-Roh roughly translates "man-wolf." It's an alternate universe after the second World War, where instead of losing to the United States, Japan instead was taken over by Germany.

Synopsis
Fuse Kazuki is a member of Panzer, Capital Police's (CAPO) special unit, responsible for hunting down terrorists who would make public demontrations and do suicide bombings. One day he and his group are after terrorists who led them to the sewers. There, he was face to face with a girl holding a schoolbag. The girl, Nanami Agawa, is a member of The Sect, a terrorist group. She's one of the "Red Riding Hoods"--women and children who are made to carry and transport explosives. Fuse, floored at seeing a young girl, hesitated in shooting her. Nanami retaliated by detonating the bomb in her schoolbag, instantly killing her.

Fuse however was saved, but he was investigated by the high officials of the CAPO, questioning his hesitation in shooting Nanami. He meanwhile was haunted by her face, and was determined to find out more about the suicide bomber. Enlisting the help of his friend, Henmi Atsushi, he found out that Nanami has an older sister, Kei. He later found himself attracted to her, which was exactly what the CAPO wanted...

CAPO has a dilemma: 10 years after the second World War has made CAPO outdated, prompting imminent abolishment. To stop this, they have to integrate themselves with the regular police force. The Panzer Special Unit however refuses to be integrated with them. CAPO officials then concocted a conspiracy to bring down the Panzers. And Fuse fitted their plans perfectly.

Unknown to them, a vigilante group called The Wolf Brigade exists and keeps track of the CAPO's activities. When CAPO tried to frame Fuse into having a relationship with Kei, who turns out to be another terrorist in no way related to Nanami, The Wolf Brigade came to light to expose the CAPO's plot.

Review
I have to be honest. The first 10 minutes of the movie kept me yawning and fighting to keep my eyes open. The opening scenes reminded me of Schindler's List, and while that earned a lot of praise from other people, I wasn't particularly thrilled at the thought of watching a similar movie. So I was about to turn it off when I suddenly thought of fast-forwarding to the middle of the film. There I saw Fuse and Kei in an embrace.

So alright, the shoujo fanatic in me decided to give Jin-Roh a second chance. There's also Fuse's seiyuu, when he said, "Don't!" when Nanami was about to detonate the explosive. It occured to me how sexy Fuse's voice sounded ^_^ Now that I've watched it, I don't know whether to be glad or regretful.

Jin-Roh tried to make sketchy parallel with the Red Riding Hood story. Not the Red Riding Hood where the girl was saved by a woodsman from the wolf. Rather, it's based from the German version called "Rotkäppchen", where the girl goes off to see her mother, unknowingly made to eat her mother's flesh and drink her mother's blood, and then killed by the wolf. The movie paid special attention to this story through a scene where Kei gave Fuse the Rotkäppchen book, which she claims was her sister Nanami's. There was even a narration of the book, a pointed analogy to the CAPOs, the ones who play the part of the wolf, and The Sect, who are the red riding hoods.

The twist right near the end was what impressed me with Jin-Roh. I wasn't really expecting there to be any, just was engrossed with the love story segment between Fuse (pronounced Fooo-seh) and Kei. Then again, twist or no twist, the movie was downright depressing. There was lots of violence, but what made it more gloomy was the ending. Guess I'm just a sucker for happy endings :(

The animation is unique. The people actually look like the Japanese. No large eyes or pink hair here. The images at times were superimposed with actual, real-life shots of places in Japan, such as the train stations, the bridges, and the sewers. The shots were nicely integrated; if you don't look closely, you'd never notice that the scene is not a drawing at all.

People say Jin-Roh is at par with Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion. While I'm not wild with Evangelion, I'd have to say that Jin-Roh has just the right length when it comes to achieving the profound, emotional effect (three hours of Schindler's List was agony, I tell you!). But if you're not into this kind of emotional drama (as I am), then don't watch Jin-Roh. Not unless you want to be depressed for the rest of the day.

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