Sometimes while consuming media you find something that you can only profoundly respect. For me JinRou is exactly that. It honestly transcends the muh anime deal and elevates itself to cinema levels good cinema. This IS a mustwatch and I feel like saying some stuff about it spoilers included. First things first this film is visually lovable. Some might find its worn presentation tiresome and bland but it captures so strongly the feeling of hopelessness and wasted people living in a wasted world of wasted politics and wasted happiness its amazing. Its directed by the guy who made character design for Ghost in the Shell a big friend of Oshii and his ultra realistic character designs find perfect place in a narrative that is all about how reality functions. Its not easy to use those to their fullest but whenever you have characters getting frantically holed by huge ass bullets summarily executed without a blink for pity you believe in it. Its heavy and you feel the weight of those individuals dying for a cause. That is without mentioning its attention to detail and how there is an entire else world going on while our characters casually live their lives. There is always something there moving existing at any given moment. And that is shared with the audience in the sense we are also clueless of stuff that is just heavily implied. Facial expressions moments of silence of apparent discomfort sadness disillusion hopelessness. All captured like it should adding barely more than needed and leaving nothing to be desired. A balanced directing aware of the perfect timing to cut scenes and progress things so they can sink in without losing focus and grip on what the film is about. Lightning deserves its own mention. If you dont know what it looks like to have bullets being shot in a shady ambient and hitting their targets be it metal concrete or flesh these guys did their homework to make it as realistic as you can possibly get and cool as fuck to witness. So yeah that is all on the visual end. Dont let me get into sound design. If you are into gun porn and gun sounds and steps from troops relentlessly marching towards their prey oh boy enjoy it. But what honestly separates JinRou from a cool looking flick about cops doing cops things is definitely the screenplay. Again this is great cinema and if there is one thing that is common to great films is their writing. An inattentive watch for this picture can cause the feeling of indifference also known as is that it?. Well yeah it has a hell of a slow pacing and its plot is considerably small and simple. But the thing about this movie is that its a piece of expression and most people wont bother to know what Oshii was trying to say. He wrote all of this world and characters characteristic of his worldview and knowing the guy helped me a lot comprehending all the subdued things that could easily pass unnoticed. At the very beginning we are introduced to the world of JinRou through an expository documentaryesque sequence that closes with: As they were about to join the pages of history the changing times were about to give them a new and final mission referring to the Special Unit. Lets go from there. JinRou begins by exploring the idea that big shifting moments in our history were determined by small actions or in this case small inaction. By not pulling the trigger at the beginning Fuse becomes a chess piece in a dangerous game of interests that could only end in tragedy for one side. There is also the idea of entering the pages of history in a way most people often dont take into consideration which is of entering subtly by not being there. History isnt necessarily known though its always there crawling in the corners of our lives. Unknown heroes unknown villains unknown victims: that is our history filled with bloodstained pages. And that is all because what the pack wishes to achieve is the perfect status quo fighting hard to maintain its existence always hiding their plots from public knowledge. So this might leave watchers wondering if the ride is worth it because shit seems not to happen. Well that is the point of the film. All its done is an act of regression to represent postwar Japans mindset and spirit of never actually changing. Things come and go movements arise and disappear blood is shed and people remain the same. In our world Japan grew to be what is described in Oshiis masterful Patlabor 2. In JinRous world where Nazi Germany won the war and methods of oppression were of common use the society ignores the Sects revolutionary acts as well as the Special Units crude repression. It achieves minimal stability and already throws in the towel being only a section of the government interested in changing things. That change is however only interested in shifting structures of power from one side to the other while remaining ultimately corrupt. Just look at the methods these bureaucrats utilize to get there. So there is an evident pessimism to the films political backdrop and message not a surprise coming from Oshii. But there is more than just that to JinRou. Its also the story of people and of how much they worth: nothing. There is a cut in the last minute that I must say its one of the best cuts Ive seen in all of anime. The idea of cutting to something else is of separating two realities that just couldnt be recorded as the same. There could be a moving camera shifting from one place to another but only a cut can convey that feeling of wow look how different these two perspectives are. It is a meaningful cut and its meaning is soulcrushing. The tragic tale of death of finality. After crossing a point of warped morality there is no going back. Fuse is lost forever. The last moments of that couple are spectacularly shot. There is a sense of objectivity to the scene like if its recorded by superior all knowing beings without a moral compass to mourn upon the cold farewell of two murderers from different sides. Both share a dream of belonging both die in a sense one remains human the other shows its true colors. And reaching the end of this fewseconds long scene we cut to a man a wolf holding a gun pointed at the two waiting for yet another inaction of our protagonist to fire and kill both. Its not necessary of course but it shows reality as it is like no other scene had before. This is Fuses and Keis value. This is what they truly worth: nothing. She is to be disposed of in some wasteland and he is despite his talent and skill as disposable. By choosing the right side he lives although dead inside. Had he chosen otherwise hed be over too. Dying as a human becoming a wolf its all the same. All about negating humanity and by cutting from the tragedy to the routine of dealing with internal doubt and risk by the more experienced from the pack it separates the movie in two. The tragic tale of two souls destined to cease and the tale of wolfs casually eating their preys like they always do nothing special about it. Its depressing its sad its hopeless. But it ends. It ends and that is all that matters. What is done is done Fuse is done for so is Kei. The packs position is secured for some time the danger of termination is postponed until further notice and things ultimately remain the same in the grand scheme of things like Oshii wanted to say. Its dark its merciless and its striking. It might be boring uninteresting to some simplistic to others. The film is what it is a piece of expression that never felt the need to overstate anything that had going for it. The blatant quoting of Little Red Riding Hood is just a tiny fraction of what the anime is about. If you got caught up on that you may have missed a big portion of its quality. Its like a solid rock. Hard to approach hard to carry hard to take something away from but its definitely worth it. Every time I rewatch it I always think just how powerful it is by doing things that way instead of resorting to a more action packed style which is more Oshii like. I also think its much more subtle than anything Oshii has ever done which I attribute to him not directing it but instead only giving essential advice and coordinating the production. Truly masterful. Give yourself a watch.