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Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Year: 1998
"Get back in line, lunchmeat!"
It's the Wolf Brigade
Director: Hiroyuki Okiura
Producer: Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Tsutomu Sugita, Hidekazu Terakawa, Shigeru Watanabe
Writer: Mamoru Oshii
English Voice Cast: Michael Dobson, Maggie Blue O'Hare, Moneca Stori, Mike Kopsa, Doug Abrahams
The Skinny: Violent, uber-depressing vision of an alternate universe Japan that smacks of Nazi Germany. Spectacular animation and sleek character designs make the film worth at least one viewing despite its bleak subject matter.
Review by Calvin McMillin:      If any a film deserved the description of "grim and gritty," it's Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, a depressingly bleak, yet powerful anime that takes place in an alternate universe in which the Japanese triumphed over the Allies in World War II. The film begins a decade later as Japan's oppressive regime is now locked in a fierce war with an equally violent terrorist/rebel group that has a fair share of teenage girls under its thrall. Nicknamed "Red Riding Hoods", these women serve as little more than suicide bombers.
     During the heat of battle, Constable Kazuki Fuse encounters one of these "Red Riding Hoods", but fails to shoot her before she detonates the bomb strapped to her person. Suspended for his failure and sentenced to mandatory re-education, Fuse bumps into the young girl's older sister, Kei, a virtual dead ringer for the deceased bomber. The two eventually embark on a kind of quasi-romance and soon find themselves caught up in a complex web of conspiracies involving the cops, the terrorists, and the Nazi-like Jin-Roh commando unit.
     Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is by no means a feel-good film, nor does it try to be, so it may seem somewhat beside the point to criticize the film for its downbeat subject matter. But ultimately, that's what makes the film so disappointing. The repetitious "Red Riding Hood" motif isn't much help either, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the superb animation and slick character designs that will make the film worth watching for some viewers. In the end, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is a beautiful film design-wise, but the storyline will leave many—including this reviewer—cold. (Calvin McMillin, 2004)
Awards: 1999 Fant-Asia Film Festival
• 2nd Place Best Asian Film
1999 Fantasporto
• Winner - Fantasia Section Award for Best Animated Film
• Winner - International Fantasy Film Special Jury Award
• Nomination - International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film
Availability: DVD (USA)
Region 1 NTSC
Pioneer Entertainment
2-Disc Special Edition Set + CD Sountrack
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese and English Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Removable English Subtitles
Trailers, director/creator interviews, cast interviews, 12-page booklet, art gallery
Region 1 NTSC
Pioneer Entertainment
Standard Edition
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese and English Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Removable English Subtitles
image courtesy of Pioneer Entertainment Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen