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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 5600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)
Harmon Cardon DD/DTS receiver
Ascent (main) + Boston Acoustics (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...


Jin-Roh [Blu-ray and SD Combo DVD]


(Hiroyuki Okiura, 1998)

Review by Gary W. Tooze and Luiz R.

STUDIO: Bandai Visual / Honneamise
VIDEO: AVC 1080P - 16:9 (?38 Mbps)
AUDIO: Japanese 5.1 PCM (4.6Mbps), Japanese 2.0 PCM (1.5 Mbps) or DUB: English 5.1 Dolby Surround

SUBTITLES: Japanese, English, none
TIME: 102 Min.

Extras: Trailers

Dual-Layered Blu-Ray (50GBs)
Dual-Layered DVD9

DVD Release Date: September 25th, 2007

Product Description:

Based on Oshii Mamoru's manga, 1999 animated feature Jin-Roh is set in an alternate world 1950s Japan that is beset by riots and terrorism and ruled over by a fascist government. Jin-Roh is preceded by two Oshii-directed live-action feature films set in the same world, The Red Spectacles and Stray Dog, though timeline-wise it is a prequel to the other two films. Unable to finish off the trilogy himself (as he was working on Ghost in the Shell at the time), Oshii tapped for the job first-time director Okiura Hiroyuki, an animator who had worked on Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor 2. Packed with political, historical, and literary allusions and metaphysical musings, Jin-Roh is a brilliantly animated, emotionally jarring allegorical tale that both entertains and challenges.



Fuse Kazuki is a member of Japan's heavily armed anti-terror police unit, Kerberos Panzer Cops. They are trained to defend and attack like ravenous, blindly loyal dogs - like Kerberos, the hellhound that guarded the gate to Hades. During a mission, however, Kazuki hesitates to shoot a young girl from a terrorist guerrilla group, leading to her suicide bombing. A troubled Kazuki is sent back to academy, during which time he gets pulled into a secretive Kerberos unit called Jin-Roh, or Wolf Brigade. He meets Kei, the older sister of the suicide bomber girl, and as the two grow closer, Kazuki realizes that they are both pawns in a greater rivalry between Kerberos and the Metro Police.



JIN-ROH's setting is Tokyo not the Tokyo of the future, but of an alternate past. In the bizarre, ironic tradition of Philip K. Dick's THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, JIN-ROH presents a Japan that lost a different Second World War - not to America, but to Nazi Germany. Now, more than ten years after the defeat, the occupation troops have left, but their legacy is JIN-ROH's twilight-zone city where the domestic terrorism of "The Sect" plays out in everyday bombings and street battles against the counterterrorist Capital Police and their elite armored, helmeted, and red-goggled Special Unit.

One night in the sewers below Tokyo, Fuse and the men of the Special Unit confront a fleeing band of Sect members. Fuse has his gun out and aimed at one among their number, a young girl carrying an explosive satchel charge. He should shoot her. He means to shoot her. But in his hesitation, she detonates the bomb, and in the weeks that follow, Fuse falls under investigation by his superiors, even as he feels compelled to seek out the identity of the terrorist he failed to kill.

Her name was Nanami, and the young radical now haunts Fuse in double exposure: in the living face of her older sister, Kei, whom he tracks down, and with whom he begins a love affair and as an unquiet spirit, in Fuse's dreams of a girl pursued, and torn apart by wolves. Fuse is paranoid of? himself most of all yet there is still more to fear.

JIN-ROH has as its subtitle, "The Wolf Brigade" after the name of a rumored inner cabal within the faction-ridden Capital Police. The literal meaning of jin-roh is "man-wolf." This is not the term, okami-otoko, that the Japanese use to refer to a werewolf, and indeed, writer Oshii is concerned in this film with a different myth, that of Little Red Riding Hood or rather, the more sinister, original version of the story known in Grimm's Fairy Tales as Rotk-chen.

The movie JIN-ROH is about those in society who are predators among prey. But these "beasts" never bother to change their shape; like Red Riding Hood's wolf, they merely drape themselves with human clothes that do not even disguise the eyes, teeth and claws of a killer. Society rightly fears them. In JIN-ROH the Capital Police are themselves hunted marked for elimination as a force by their own government, and by a public eager to forget the past and look the other way from the present. So what is it then, writer Oshii asks, that draws the human ever closer when she can see that the wolf hides nothing.




Video: (BIG thanks to Luiz R. for his review)

Movie 9/10:
To me this is one of the TOP 5 animes of all time (I am not a big fan of Miyazaki) mostly due to Mamuro Oshii's script. The story is an amazing tale about the human dark side and the metamorphosis of empath to sociopath through continuous-training (reinforcement), and can easily be considered a top crime-psychology thriller. Very clever use of the original "Little Riding Hood" story, gives you an idea what the tale is about. What actually looks innocent, like the Grimm's version of the fairy tale, is in truth a very sinister story.

I believe this is the kind of animation that will appeal to Art-House movies viewers, even though they may not have been exposed to a lot of anime previously.

Image 9/10:
Nice improvement in the Blu-ray from the SD DVD. Again the colors and resolution are excellent and the image now has a beautiful smooth texture. This package contains the best version I have seen and I also own the American version. I estimate this as being at least 15% superior. Although this anime is not solely about the imagery - all the improvements are very welcomed indeed.


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample





NOTE: Not exact frame








NOTE: Not exact frame



Caps from the Blu-ray









Audio: 9/9/7 - 10:
Fantastic. Both PCM options are crystal clear and the English Dolby 5.1 sound quality won't disappoint in case you don't like to read subtitles, you won't find any better English version anyway.


Extras 3/10:
Sorry, just trailers.



Recommendation 8/10:
Expensive and no extras. I don't think any upgrade in quality will happen, but a better price and a pack of extras could be worth waiting. If you don't care about extras this is a great buy, carefully made and packed.

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