Also known as Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, this movie was not directed by Mamoru Oshii(it was directed by Hiroyuki Okiura), but it’s easy to make that mistaken assumption, because Oshii is the original creator of the franchise(which also includes manga and live-action films), and he did the storyboards and the planning for this movie. His influence is clearly visible: The movie begins with a comprehensive explanation of how society evolved and changed in this alternate universe post-WW2 Japan, but the ending is pretty sudden and far from conclusive. It left me with many unanswered questions.
These questions relate to the fact that Jin-Roh is a story about lies, deception and secrecy in a police state, and most of the plot points turned out to be something completely different near the end of the movie. At first the suddenness of the ending disappointed me, but after thinking about it for a while I started liking it more and more. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, because my experiences with Oshii’s movies have always been back-heavy when it comes to enjoyment(except maybe for Patlabor).
Jin-Roh is not an action movie so the fact that the animation and the art are fantastic is not constantly apparent. But when the animation shines, it really shines. The few firefight scenes in the movie are probably my favourite ones out of all of Oshii’s movies. And that’s because of the brutality. In Patlabor the shooting is mostly done by automatic guard robots, and in Ghost in the Shell the shooting is pretty restrained most of the time, but in Jin-Roh there is rage and anger behind the shooting. It probably also helps that the Special Unit carry MG-42s as their main weapons, but I digress, because I don’t want to spoil too much of the movie.