Friday, November 18, 2011

Forming a List (Anime, Part IV)

Another title from my core anime collection.

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

I have a friend who has been interested in postmodern fairy tale retellings for about as long as I've known her. Back when we'd read stories to eachother on the phone, she would sometimes read me some of the stories from the Datlow and Windling anthologies. Today postmodern fairy tale retellings have a stable presence of pop culture, whether it is through comics like Fables or TV shows like Once Upon a Time, Grimm and Lost Girl or a growing number of picture books (starting with Scieszka and Smith's The Stinky Cheese Man and with roots going back at least as far as James Stevenson's straight-yet-tongue-in-cheek retellings of the some of the classics). I sometimes wonder if anybody reads the original stories anymore (apart from doing so with the intenet to adapt them).

Directed by Hiroyuki Okiura (whose latest film just premiered this summer) and written by Mamoru Oshii, Jin-Roh is framed around "Little Red Riding Hood" (more the darker Perrault version than the happy-ending version the Grimms are known for) and set in an alternate 1960s Japan that was developed through some of Oshii's non-anime work. Although flawed in a number of ways, the story of Fuse, a member of an elite miltary unit, and his obsession over a suicide bomber and her sister is perfect for those of us who love reworkings of classic fairy tale stories.

As well, the animation dream team that worked on the Patlabor films and Ghost in the Shell reunite for this one. Director Okiura, who did character designs for Ghost in the Shell and key animation for both Patlabor films, here also does storyboards and character designs. Hiromasa Ogura reprises his role as art director, and the man who would go on to direct Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East, Kenji Kamiyama, takes the role of animation director. Furthermore, on the music front, Koko Kanno collaborator Hajime Mizoguchi delivers some great orchestral pieces.

Jin-Roh is one of the few films that got a Bu-ray release through Bandai Visual USA before it was folded into Bandai Entertainment. Before that it was first released in 2002 in a special edition that included the soundtrack CD and regular edition through Bandai Entertainment.

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