Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade ★★★★½

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is by far one of the best anime films I have ever seen. I was recommended to watch it by online anime reviewer Bennett the Sage from his web show, Anime Abandon. When Bennett said that Jin-Roh was his favorite anime film, I can see why.

Taking place in an alternate 1950s Japan, Jin-Roh is about the political intrigue of The Sect (an armed rebel group), the Self-Police (For public use) and the Capital Police (a special branch that specializes in finding and killing rebels). When Fuse, a member of the Panzer Corps of the Capital Police, does not fire upon an underage girl carrying a bomb, allowing her to detonate it, he is sent back to training and meets the girl's sister, Kei. From there, it descends into a murky story of lies and deceit.

The film is based on Mamoru Oshii's "Kerberos Saga", specifically the manga entitled "Kerberos Panzer Corps". It's a series that has been running since 1986, with multiple live-action adaptations. However, this is the best-known of all of them.

The overall craftsmanship of this film is fantastic. Although some would call it pretentious (and with good reason), I see it as one of the most unconventional and great anime films ever made. The constant Little Red Riding Hood theme of the film is a cool concept, albeit unsubtle, and the film is literally like a retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

The soundtrack for this film is breathtaking and one of the best anime soundtracks ever recorded. Hajime Mizoguchi is a master of giving the film atmosphere that could only be achieved through quiet, subtle pieces to mix with the dark and bleak backdrop of alternate 50s Japan. The animation and the music definitely go hand in hand for this one

The characters of this film are not particularly interesting but that's not the point of the film. The point is the plot and the constant metaphors about Fuse belonging to a pack of wolves and chasing after Little Red Riding Hood.

The voice acting is hit and miss. Some times there'll be good line delivery but at others not.

The biggest issue is the pacing, which is unfortunately very slow. It doesn't really suck you in because the movie seems to be deliberately slow. However, if you stick it through to the end, you'll find that you could maybe forgive the pacing.

Overall, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is a brilliant film. It has definite pacing issues that won't draw an average viewer in but for those who love movies or anime, this is a real gem.