Studio/Creator: Production I.G./Mamoru Oshii
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Distributor: Discotek Media
Suggested Age: 17+
My Rating: 10/10
Summary: This anime is set in an alternate history version of Japan in the 1950’s, with Germany having taken over. Riots are common, and a special forces unit called Kerberos is formed to deal with them. One night, a little girl dressed in a red hood is carrying a package that is actually a bomb. Kerberos officer Kazuki Fuse fails to stop her, but she commits suicide. After being reprimanded for his failure, he meets Kei Amemiya, a dead ringer for the girl. In so doing, he slowly learns of a conspiracy.
Review: As I mentioned in my review of the Evangelion TV series, I’m a fan of Bennett the Sage’s web review series Anime Abandon. This is Bennett’s favorite anime ever, the one he feels none will surpass. This intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try.
The concept is very interesting. I have often wondered how different our world would be in WWII had ended differently. I like the fact that all the necessary exposition is actually told right at the beginning and is never seen afterward. This anime knows just how much to tell.
Throughout the story, there are numerous parallels to the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, which is retold throughout the anime by Kei. The little girl and Kei both wear red, and the Kerberos is known as the “Wolf Brigade”. We even hear the famous dialogue between Red Riding Hood and the wolf (“What big eyes you have!”, et al.) I thought that this was a unique way to tell the story, especially since I consider Little Red Riding Hood to be one of the darkest fairy tales. I also found it interesting that even though Kei claims that the little girl was her sister, she bears no ill will toward Kazuki.
Kazuki is a well-written protagonist. I pondered how I would have acted in his place. Would I have just followed orders? He says very little throughout the story, even to defend his actions.
The artwork is very nice. Despite this being made in the late 90’s, everything is still hand-drawn and there is a very realistic feel to it. Mamoru Oshii deserves every ounce of respect he has received. This is on par with Ghost in the Shell.
Sub/Dub: I prefer the sub, even though the dub is well-done. The girl and Kei sound more innocent in the original.
Music/Score: Accents the story and provides the right atmosphere.
Violence: (8/10) The opening narration and scenes depicting it are very unsettling.
Related Media: This is the third adaptation of Oshii’s Jin-Roh manga. The other two adaptations were live action.