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Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is the third film adaptation of Mamoru Oshii's Kerberos Saga manga, released in 1999. It is also the only animated adaptation, the animation done by Production I.G.The main character is Kazuki Fuse, a member of a heavily armed special forces unit (Kerberos) of the police. At the beginning of the film he witnesses the desperate suicide of a young girl who was delivering explosives to an anti-government riot. The suicide bomb cuts power lines causing a large blackout; as a result the police lose control of the situation and Fuse gets into trouble with the brass as he could've prevented this by shooting the girl. The audience is then introduced to a power war going on behind the scenes, between the police unit Fuse is part of and a rival entity called Public Security. Later on, Fuse meets Kei Amemiya who looks like the dead girl and claims to be her older sister. Is it the truth, or is she hiding something? Despite his suspicions, Fuse doesn't reject her company.The film's title "Jin-Roh" comes from a rumored counterintelligence cell operating inside Kerberos itself as it slowly builds up to be an important part of the story.Somewhat jarringly for a cynical political drama, Jin-Roh is mostly remembered for the impressive and menacing heavy armor worn by Fuse. It is often confused with the armor worn by the Helghast faction in the first person shooterKillzone (which it possibly inspired).The film was licensed and dubbed by Bandai Entertainment for a DVD release, but said release went out of print when the company ceased production. Discotek Media has since rescued the movie for a future DVD release.
Provides Examples Of:
Alternate History: The film takes place in the 1960s. Germany won World War II, occupied Japan and has only recently moved out, leaving it in economic and political turmoil. Most of the weapons and vehicles seen are German.
Ammunition Backpack: Downplayed. A Panzer Cop's backpack doesn't store a single long belt for his MG-42, but rather a number of separate belts, kind of like a paper towel dispenser that dispenses bullets.
Anachronic Order: Jin-Roh was the final movie made in the Keroberos Saga, but in terms of the timeline it's the first event in the series, taking place a good 30 years before the 2 live action films.
Anguished Declaration of Love: A powerful moment in the film, Kei grabs onto Fuse crying and utters line from Little Red Riding Hood "Mother, what big claws you have! Mother, what big teeth you have!". All the while, Fuse is screaming in anguish as he finds himself forced to either shoot the woman he loves or turn his back on his fellow Panzer Cops.
Armor Is Useless: Averted — Fuse's Protect-Gear shields him against close-range bomb blasts and automatic gunfire.
Barrier-Busting Blow: During a training exercise, Fuse surprises the trainer who is about to storm the room he was in by crashing through the wall.
Beware the Quiet Ones: Fuse's near lack of dialogue is a testament to the power of animation to create a fully realized protagonist with only a handful of spoken lines.
Culture Chop Suey: The movie's Japan is a mix of Southern Korea during The Sixties and The Seventies - rapid urbanization and industrialization, with following social and economical issues, and The Fifties' Japan - with political strife and popularity of leftist ideas among the youth.
Decoy Protagonist: The movie begins following a girl in a red hood sent to deliver a package. She shortly after detonates the bomb she's carrying, killing herself in front of Fuse, the real protagonist.
Get It Over With: When Fuse catches Henmi at the end of the final shootout, he just stands still and waits while Henmi demands to know once again why he didn't shoot at the beginning of the film. Fuse doesn't answer, and finally shoots Henmi.
Honey Trap: Kei pretends to be the sister of the suicide bomber shot by Fuse. She's actually a terrorist turned police informer.
Implacable Man: Fuse becomes this near the end of the film as he hunts down the Public Security agents that were trying to follow him. Can be applied to all Kerberos cops since the armor is very durable and most of the guns seen in the film have nowhere near enough firepower to begin with.
Interservice Rivalry: The entire film. The Public Security Division intend to create a fake scandal (the romance between cop Fuse and terrorist Kei) to give them the excuse to disband the Kerberos, which has become a political embarrassment. The Wolf Brigade in turn is able to out-manipulate them, kill the Public Security Agents who were supposed to catch Kei and Fuse meeting, and eliminate Kei while making it appear like they still have her to prevent any retaliation from Public Security.
More Dakka: And it only takes one fully armed Kerberos unit member to do this, with just one gun no less.
Mythology Gag: Many scenes are influenced by the manga, although the film makes them into pure art.
Never Trust a Trailer: The English language trailer has a lot of wolf imagery and lines about "wolves disguized as men" and "a man destined to live as a beast". These are purely metaphorical, there are no werewolves in the movie.
Captain Muroto: We are not men disguised as mere dogs; we are wolves disguised as men.
Kei: Wolves...not men...
Power Armor: This is one trope that the series is remembered for, the iconic Protect-Gear. Ample protection, glowing red night vision lenses, and the very picture of badassery. May have inspired othersimilar armors.
Shown Their Work: The gun foley (sound fx) is spot on, especially the MG42's. Also at the shooting range, there is a square indentation on the range lane wall, with 4 screw holes where the pencil sharpener was removed and the spot painted over; this is because shooting exercises are no longer graded by over-the-shoulder judges with paper and pencil. In a movie shot on location this would be an expected background item but in an animated film it had to be intentionally included, amounting to a Genius Bonus.
State Sec: Kerberos, with its iconic armor and heavy firepower for police work, fit the bill.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Kerberos cops don't show much mercy to their targets and riddle them with bullets. The completely one sided carnage of pitting anyone against the Kerberos cops is animated in a glorious mess of muzzle flash, blood and smoke. To say nothing of Fuse's disposal of Henmi. In fact, this is drilled into them through training: the instructor makes sure that his trainees receive plenty of rubber bullets for doing anything that would have gotten them killed in the field.
You Can Never Leave: After Fuse kills Kei, another Kerberos cop is shown decocking his Broomhandle Mauser which he was aiming at the two, making it clear what would have happened to Fuse if he'd refused to kill her.
You Know Too Much: Kei must be killed to guarantee Public Security can't find her and do the same — as long as she's missing, they can't be sure Kei isn't under protective custody somewhere, ready to give evidence if needed.
Tropes in other works in the Kerberos Saga:
Action Girl: Midori, a woman in the Panzer Cops who is not afraid to take the lead.
Arc Words: "Who is your master?" and many other questions.
Chickification: This happens to Midori in Red Spectacles but the fact that Midori ends up this way is actually something that Koichi is dreaming up.
Contemplate Our Navels: Shortly before storming an embassy, one of the Panzer Cops talks about how he wants to own a blimp. There are also numerous conversations written by Mamoru Oshii, especially about dogs and men.
Cool Shades: Koichi wears these all the time, even while wearing a Protect Gear helmet and while taking a shower.
Lolicon: In Stray Dog, Inui accuses Koichi of having this kink due to his relationship with Tang Mei.
MacGuffin: It turns out that the main reason Bunmei was hunting for Koichi was to get his suitcase which is supposed to contain a suit of Protect Gear, but the suitcase was actually full of Red Spectacles.
Meaningful Name: Inui, the "stray dog" from the manga who whose background and personality would later influence Kazuki Fuse. The name was re-used for the protagonist of Stray Dog.
Mind Screw: Hoo boy. The Red Spectacles is about as close to a David Lynch film as you can get without the man himself directing it. Stray Dog is less weird and more laid-back, but still has its moments.
Mysterious Woman: The Red Riding Hood from Red Spectacles - nothing is ever explained about her, or why she appears in the situations that she does.