It’s not often I watch an anime, or any movie, that not only moves me but forces me to ask questions about society and our shared humanity. Jin-Roh is a title that has hovered around my awareness for years but I’ve never gotten around to watching it, at least not until today. It’s an exquisite work that transcends genre.
The story is complex and full of depth and some strong characterization, this a very serious movie; so for those who Ilike your robots and bikini girls, with hyper-guns and the whoosh of rapid-fire manga, this is probably not for you! This movie is thoughtful and contemplative … and will leave you feeling introspective.
The story is set in an alternate reality in which Japan has emerged from the second world war as Totalitarian society… The population riots, a group called the Sect creates havoc, and the armored Special Unit of the Capitol Police Organization (CAPO) plots to acquire more power. A soldier named Fuse, who was once one of the most formidable men in the Special Unit, agonizes over the death of a young girl who worked for the Sect and in doing so he becomes a neurotic mess intent on befriending the dead girl’s sister.
The opening ten minutes of the movie hooks you, it begins with a chase under the streets of a rioting city in whic two groups, Sect and the CAPO, which represent two diametrically opposed points of view come into violent conflict. Away from the riots, and killing, a heavily armed trooper hunts and corners a mule, a young girl carrying explosives for use against the police forces. The rest of movie is revolves entirely around the question of why the soldier does not shoot her, its a question that occupies the lead character, his co-workers and us as the audience as we watch him and wonder we can’t let go of her self imposed death. This is a slow serious story, about suicide bombings, and blindly following orders, and humanity’s growth or lack of growth.
What surprised me the most was how much this story borrowed heavily from the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, it’s difficult to go into examples with ruining the rest of the story, however the female terrorists who carry bombs for the Sect are known as “Red Riding Hoods,” and Kei, reads a bloody version of the tale to Fuse throughout the film. The dialogue is fully of ethical question and moralistic observations, consantly question what it means to be human, for example when Fuse superior observes:
“We aren’t men disguised as dogs. We’re wolves disguised as men.”
and he also when another of his superiors makes observation with regards to society:
.”.. apparently some animals when they dominate a group kill all the offspring of the other males under them, sometimes organisations do the same”
In my opinion Jin-Roh is a true masterpiece, and anyone who watches it will not be disappointed.