Film Review Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Both Clever and Chilling Anime Movie
animeuknews.net HWR • 27th October 2019 •
Where Okiura leads the art of animation into truly uncharted
territory is in his character work, the precise behavioral strokes that bring people to life in two
dimensions. L.A. Weekly/David Chute
It makes as good a case as any for the use of animation as a
medium for serious, mature features. -- Luke Y. Thompson/New Times
Oshii's layered use of the Red Riding Hood story is both
clever and chilling. -- Citysearch/Dan Fazio
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is a 2000 anime film that centres on the horrors of post-war conflict in
Japan and an alternative history of 1950s Japanese riots.
It opens with a documentary-like explanation of this alternative history narrative in a stark and
blunt manner that takes a different approach to quickly explaining the plot to viewers.
The events that set the story in motion are equally horrifying and
saddening as our main protagonist, Kazuki Fuse, member of the elite Kerberos
Panzer Cops (a metropolitan anti-Terror unit), fails in his mission to prevent a young female terrorist
from setting off a bomb and killing herself right before his eyes.
With his unit’s reputation in tatters and these events causing a moral dilemma,
Fuse is forced to re-examine his position and begins a journey after meeting
Kei, the supposed sister of the dead suicide bomber.
Without spoiling too much, Jin-Rohexplores the harsh realities of conflict and PTSD as we also see
deception and corruption abound with Fuse just trying to survive. We also get to see
a growing relationship between Fuse and Kei that seems
destined to end in tragedy.
The main recurring story beats are the parallels to the story of Little Red Riding
Hood and her dealings with the wolf, tying right into the full title, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, who
are revealed as a secret group acting independently to their superiors and who try to help
Fuse in his moments of need.
The conclusion for Jin-Roh is gut-
wrenching but also appropriate for the film’s overall themes and tone. It
left me feeling very somber but also like I’d experienced an intriguing storyline that offered something
Jin-Roh was animated by
Production I.G who have worked on a lot of science fiction anime over the years.
The director, Hiroyuki Okiura, has
previously worked as a key animator on classic anime films like Akira and Patlabor: The
Movie. The film itself is an adaptation of a manga by Mamoru Oshii, the director of iconic anime films Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor 2: The Movie. They
both do a great job in bringing the source material to life and deliver a relatively simply storyline with
memorability and style.
Looking at the actual release, Jin-Roh
provides audio tracks for both Japanese and English languages and both are solid. Kizuki Fuse is portrayed by Yoshikatsu Fujiki and Michael
Dobson respectively and both do a good job with a difficult role.
Elsewhere the other key highlights are the voice actors for Kei, Sumi Mutoh and Moneca Stori, whose performances help to enhance the mysterious aura
surrounding the character.
The score for the film was provided by composer Hajime
Mizoguchi whose music suitably accompanies the sombre tone that resonates
The picture quality on the Blu-ray is also decent if a bit soft in
places. The film has a layer of grain throughout that offers a more filmic look. appropriate for the story
and its more subdued colour palette.