Archive for March 3rd, 2012

The story is set in an alternate universe. Ten years after World War II, the country is in a state of strife. Emergency measures to boost Japan’s economy have created some disturbing social problems. In Tokyo, special units of an elite police force known as the Metro Police are engaged in a bitter struggle with armed anti-government guerrillas. Any act of violence is reciprocated with more violence. Police officer Kazuki Fushe is a member of one such special unit, known among guerrillas as “Cerberus” and particularly feared for their striking power. Fushe’s assignment is to crush the members of a guerrilla group known as “The Sect.” During one of his rounds, Fushe meets a young woman on a kamikaze mission who has already activated the bomb she is wearing. Following her death, he can’t get her image out of his mind and begins to visit her grave, where he meets another woman who looks like her. She is the sister of the dead girl and has her own reasons for getting closer to Fushe.

It’s hard to begin describing this, but I can only recommend it. Taking place in a bleak alternate version of post-WW2 Tokyo, Jin-Roh accomplishes all the things that other anime cinema movies which were hailed as the holy grail of anime didn’t accomplish, or at least never accomplished so well. And Jin-Roh does it with style.

The animation is very impressive, without even really trying. The story, at it’s most basic is a doomed lovers tale. Jin-Roh doesn’t try to shock or disgust (though there are a few very frightening violent scenes in there), but wants to make you cry genuine tears of sorrow, and succeeds in every way.

The movie’s approach is subtle, slow and delicate. The fairy tale of the Little Red Riding Hood, and the image of the wolf are used throughout the movie. Apart from the main doomed lovers theme, there’s also a very impressive story of betrayal and political intrigue in there, which adds a dash of suspense.

In short, Jin-Roh is a wonderful piece of work, full of beauty and intelligence. It’s not quite possible to make clear how strong this movie is on paper, but watching it will leave an unforgettable impression. It’s a stylish tragedy that makes you think as well as makes you cry. Don’t hesitate to seek this out.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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The 2nd Lady Snowblood movie. Sentenced to death for her crimes of murder, Yuki is given pardon by Kikui, a secret government police agent. In return for her freedom, Kikui wants Yuki to assassinate anarchist Ransui and obtain a secret document he is hiding. While carrying out her orders, Yuki discovers the document in question is actually a letter incriminating agent Kikui. Always one to be on the side of justice, Lady Snowblood switches sides, joining anarchist Rasui to face off, expose, and destroy the crooked agent.

The movie retains the style of the first and the story is unpredictable with some twists. There is considerable action at the beginning and end which sees Yuki hacking her way through a load of bad guys but there are long stretches that focus primarily on Ransui and his ailing wife. Meiko Kaji as always is rather impressive as Yuki and has lost none of her charisma from the first movie. Rather than vengeance being the theme of the movie, it’s more about politics and corruption.

I enjoyed Love Song of Vengeance. It’s perhaps not as good a movie as Blizzard From The Netherworld, but it’s well-made and worth watching if you enjoyed Lady Snowblood’s exploits the first time around. There’s far less blood letting than it’s predecessor. Even if you find the movie dragging on slightly, Meiko Kaji’s presence will be enough to hold your attention.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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