Mamoru Oshii may have his problems, but I like how the guy has continued to produce adult-movies through the decades, away from all the teenagers that we see in 90% of all other anime. His movies are always very well-written; heck, the guy has an absolutely terrific sense of dialogue, rivalled by only a handful of people. It’s a shame that none of his movies so far came out perfectly flawless, though. He often gets too enthusiastic with his dialogue, which makes many of his works memorable, but missing that edge to truly become a great movie. Thankfully, after watching Jin Roh, I’m glad to say that this doesn’t count for all of his movies.
It’s here where Oshii throws away all his pretentiousness, and he deliberately keeps the pacing slow for the entire run, and for once he doesn’t mean to confuse his viewer with tons of dialogue. Instead, we get the character-study of a member of a special division of the police. Expect lots of realism here, this isn’t a story where a heroic warrior will save the world from terrorists. The plot is much deeper than that, despite what you might think. This movie was especially refreshing after watching A Tree of Palme. Nothing feels forced. Nothing feels out of place.
The real star of this movie is the main character, though. He’s so far away from your standard hero, and the depth of his character is immense, especially considering the limited length that this movie has to work with. This makes it a pity when the movie switches to the side-characters. They’re by no means bad, but they’re just not as interesting as the main one. This is just a minor flaw, though.
I’m really glad to see that Oshii did manage to produce one movie that doesn’t have any major problems, and the result is absolutely terrific. I can’t say this enough times, but a movie has a limited amount of time to work with. If it wants to be something memorable, it needs to know how to build up properly. Mamoru Oshii does know this, but he often gets ahead of himself. Thankfully, this isn’t the case for Jin Roh. Jin Roh is a definite recommendation if you’re looking for a slow and serious movie.