Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

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Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Original theatrical poster (Japan)
Directed by Hiroyuki Okiura
Produced by Tsutomu Sugita
Hidekazu Terakawa
Written by Mamoru Oshii
Starring Yoshikatsu Fujiki
Sumi Mutoh
Hiroyuki Kinoshita
Narrated by Yoshisada Sakaguchi
Music by Hajime Mizoguchi
Cinematography Hisao Shirai
Edited by Shūichi Kakesu
Production I.G
Distributed by Bandai Visual
Release date(s)
  • November 17, 1999 (1999-11-17) (France)
  • June 3, 2000 (2000-06-03) (Japan)
Running time 102 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade or simply Jin-Roh (人狼 Jinrō?, lit. "Man-Wolf") is a 1999 Japanese animated feature film directed by Hiroyuki Okiura. The film is the third adaptation of Mamoru Oshii's Kerberos saga manga, Ken-Roh Densetsu, after the two live action The Red Spectacles released in 1987 and StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops released in 1991 in Japanese theaters.

The film takes place in an alternate history in Japan during the 1950s where Germany has conquered Japan. Kazuki Fuse, a member of the Panzer Cops with the rank of Corporal, is sentenced for not following an order to kill a suicide bomber. Along the way, he meets Kei, a girl who initially claims to be the suicide bomber's sister and they develop a relationship. However, this relationship proves to be dangerous for the Kerberos Corps.

Mamoru Oshii, the creator of the Kerberos saga had desired to make Jin-Roh years earlier as a live-action film. However, Oshii decided that the film would be animated, and hired Okiura to direct the film and Production I.G to produce the film. The film premiered on November 17, 1999 in France, and Bandai Entertainment licensed the film for an English-language release in North America and Europe. It has been relicensed for Blu-ray/DVD in North America by Discotek Media.[1]


The film opens in Tokyo with an evening scene of anti-government protests, interspersed with an adolescent girl walking alone. This girl, Nanami Agawa, is revealed as a terrorist courier – nicknamed Little Red Riding Hood by the military police – a member of a guerrilla group known as the "Sect". Her role is to deliver satchel charges. She delivers the charge she carries to another Sect member hidden among regular protesters. The protest slowly turns into a riot, and the guerrilla flings the satchel bomb into the police lines, with the result that the police anti-riot squad charges to break up the riot.

Behind the military line stands a backup force. Instead of regular water cannon trucks, rubber-bullet guns and riot sticks, the military police is equipped with armored vehicles and sub-machine guns. From his command post carrier, vice-chief Hajime Handa sums up the situation to an adjutant: this joint operation is under jurisdiction of the civilian police, and the military police is not supposed to join until assistance is requested.

The courier goes to pick up another satchel, moving through the sewer system. On the way, Agawa sees heavily armed men of the Special Unit – Panzer Cops – patrolling to find terrorists, and runs away. The Sect guerrillas moving equipment towards their next point are caught at a ladder up to the surface and are slaughtered by the Panzer Cops when one of them panics and fires at the Panzer Cops.

Agawa runs on through the sewers, until she is confronted by Corporal Kazuki Fuse. Kazuki is reluctant to open fire on an apparently unarmed child, causing Agawa to trigger her satchel charge. Kazuki survives the explosion. Meanwhile, above ground, the Self-Police (named "Metropolitan Police" in the English version) lose control of the riot after the lights go out – the power supply was cut by the explosion.

With the military police organization "Metropolitan Security Police" – aka "CAPO" for Capital Police in the English adaptation – embarrassed by the Kerberos unit's failure, an inquiry is held by the National Public Safety Commission to determine why Kazuki did not fire. As a result, he is made the scapegoat and is sent back to the Kerberos academy for punitive retraining. As he goes to visit the ashes of the girl in the little red hood, he meets a teenage girl, Kei Amemiya, who claims to be the elder sister of the victim. They develop a casual relationship and spend time with each other, talking about leaving the city and starting a new life. Along the way, Kazuki has nightmares about the incident in the sewers where he did not shoot – seeing the little girl morph into Kei and being caught and devoured by a pack of wolves (an allegory for the later revealed Jin-Roh members). Kei is eventually revealed to not be the suicide bomber's sister but instead a former bomb courier and a honey trap acting on behalf of the Special Unit's rival division Public Security – administered by Bunmei Muroto –, although a rather unwilling one.

A trap is set up where Kei calls Kazuki one night to say that strange men are following her. It is in fact a Capitol Police joint operation with the Public Security Division intended to discredit the Special Unit, showing a terrorist passing a satchel bomb to a Panzer Cop. Kazuki sneaks in, seizes Kei – neutralizing Capitol Police agents – and gets out of the place with the Public Security Division agents in hot pursuit. Eventually they throw off their pursuers and take refuge in a closed rooftop amusement park. There we are led to believe that the relationship between Kei and Kazuki is more than just friendship after all, although it should be pointed that the love story revealing Kazuki's human side wasn't part of the original storyboard.

They make their way to the sewers once more, where they are met by members of the Wolf Brigade – a secret, deep-cover unit in the Kerberos Corps led by former counter-intelligence officer Hajime Handa. They greet Kazuki and give him a full set of Protect-Gear, the Panzer Cop armor and weaponry, before leaving with Kei in tow. Team leader Hachiro Tobe, Kerberos academy instructor takes an electronic tracking device from Kei's satchel and hands it to Kazuki, while he explains to Kei that the whole affair has been a plot within a plot, as the Wolf Brigade has used Public Security Division's plan to flush out those who were most active in trying to eliminate the Kerberos Corps, and eliminate them in turn.

After following the tracking device, Atsushi Henmi – Muroto's subordinate and Kazuki's academy mate makes his way to the sewers with a platoon of Public Security agents. They attempt to find Kazuki, without realizing that they are heading into a trap. Kazuki, with his Protect-Gear, MG42 machine gun, and Kerberos Corps training, slaughters the agents, saving Henmi for last.

Eventually, the Wolf Brigade and Kei end up at a junkyard, where the brigade leaves them both. Torn between his love for Kei and his loyalty to his pack, Kazuki has to choose between the two. Understanding that Kei can no longer live, and that the police plot would be revealed if she escapes, Kazuki eventually decides to kill her. Off in the distance another member of the Wolf Brigade is seen manually un-cocking his weapon as he was aiming at the pair. The leader watching quotes the final passage of Jean Baptiste Victor Smith's Little Red Riding Hood version (1870), "...and then the Wolf ate up Little Red Riding Hood."


  • Yoshikatsu Fujiki (Michael Dobson in the English version) as Corporal Kazuki Fuse, a member of the Special Armed Garrison's 2nd Company, 3rd Assault Platoon. He is also part of a deep-cover cell within the Kerberos which is known as "Jin-Roh": The Wolf Brigade.
  • Sumi Mutoh (Moneca Stori in the English version) as Kei Amemiya, a girl who claims to be Nanami Agawa's elder sister. She's actually a mole working for Bunmei Muroto's Public Security Division as codename "Langhaar" ("Long Hairs" in the English adaptation). She was once a former Little Red Riding Hood active within the Division Jacobson.
  • Hiroyuki Kinoshita (Colin Murdock in the English version) as Atsushi Henmi, an agent for Bunmei Muroto's Public Security Division. After graduating from the Kerberos Academy Training School he transferred to the Public Security Division.
  • Eri Sendai (Maggie Blue O'Hara in the English version) as Nanami Agawa, a Little Red Riding Hood courrier working for the Sect terrorists with the codename "Kurzhaar" ("Short Hairs" in the English adaptation) by the Public Security Division.
  • Kenji Nakagawa (French Tickner in the English version) as Isao Aniya, the director of the Metropolitan Police's Defense Division (Capitol Police in the English adaptation). As such he has almost the same rank as his rival Bunmei Muroto (Public Security Division) and he is the immediate superior to Tatsumi Shiroh (Special Unit leader). He is featured in the Kerberos Panzer Cop Parts One and Two.
  • Kousei Hirota (Dale Wilson in the English version) as Bunmei Muroto, a subordinate to Isao Aniya within the Metropolitan Security Police Organization's hierarchy. Muroto is a careerist and with the help of the civilian police plans a conspiracy to get rid of the rival Capitol Police and its Special Unit. This main character is featured in both The Red Spectacles, Kerberos Panzer Cop Parts One and Two and in Kerberos & Tachiguishi.
  • Ryuichi Horibe (Ron Halder in the English version) as Shiroh Tatsumi, the commander of the Special Unit ("Kerberos") and the immediate superior to Hajime Handa. He is featured in Kerberos Panzer Cop Parts One and Two as the leader of the Kerberos Riot event.
  • Yukihiro Yoshida (Michael Kopsa in the English version) as Hajime Handa, a subordinate of Shiroh Tatsumi within the Special Unit and Isao Aniya's Capitol Police. During the occupation period he worked as a counter-intelligence agent for the German occupiers. Handa is secretly the leader of the Jin-Roh underground cell and the immediate superior to Hachiroh Tohbe within it. This character is featured in both Parts of the Kerberos Panzer Cop as well as in Kerberos Saga Rainy Dogs.
  • Yoshisada Sakaguchi (Doug Abrahams in the English version) as Hachiroh Tohbe, a senior instructor within the Kerberos Academy Training School. He once trained both Kazuki Fuse and Atsushi Henmi. Tohbe's secretly number 2 within the Jin-Roh hierarchy and the immediate superior to Kazuki Fuse. Tohbe is the narrator character of the film and appears in Kerberos Panzer Cop Part Two.


Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is the version of Rotkäppchen ('Red Cap') transcribed directly from the film by Chance Wolf, and used by permission[vague]. The lines quoted here from Jin-Roh are based on a traditional oral tale which was told by a 10 year old girl in Haute-Loire, France, and transcribed by Jean Baptiste Victor Smith in 1870. This interpretation predates that of Charles Perrault (considered the first written iteration of the 'Little Red Riding Hood' tale), and is the only one in which the protagonist visits her mother instead of her grandmother, and features the "clothing made completely out of metal" as found in the Jin-Roh version, below:

Once there was a little girl, called Little Red Riding Hood, for she wore always that red riding hood. Now her mother had made her a suit of clothing for her to wear, and this suit of clothing had been made completely out of metal. Her mother then went away to stay alone in a little cottage in the woods, and told the girl, "only when you have worn out this suit of clothing shall you come and visit me." So the girl, nodding solemnly, bade her mother goodbye and set to work to wearing out her suit of metal clothing.

Every day, she rubbed herself against the walls of her home, so that the clothing would be worn out sooner. Every day, day-by-day, without fail she would rub herself against the walls, till her clothes became thinner, and thinner till she completely wore it out. Elated, she made some bread with butter and wheat cakes for her mother, intending them as gifts, and left her house for her mother's cottage in the woods.

Along the way, just as she was about to enter the woods, she encountered a wolf, which asked for some of her cakes and bread. She refused, for it was to be a gift to her mother. Unfazed, the wolf asked if she would be traveling via the road of pins or the road of needles. The young girl replied that she would be using the road of pins. Thus, the wolf ran quickly down the road of needles and knocked upon the door to the girl's mother's cottage.

"Who is it?" the girl's mother asked.

"It is I, your daughter, come to bring you cakes and bread." And when the mother opened the door, the wolf killed her, eating most of her.

Sometime later, the young girl finally arrived at her mother's cottage. Knocking upon the door, she heard her mother call out in a strange voice, "who's at the door?"

"It is I, your daughter, come to bring you bread and cakes, for I have worn out my clothing of metal and now come to visit you."

"Come in my daughter, the door is not locked!" But the door was locked, and the little girl had to climb in through the little hole at the bottom of the door.

Once inside, she noticed that her mother was in bed. After the long walk through the woods the girl was hungry, and said thus to her mother. "Mother, I'm hungry, for I have traveled far and deep to this place."

And so the reply was, "there is meat in the cupboard, that you may consume to sate your hunger."

And as the little girl was about to eat the meat from the cupboard, suddenly a cat jumped onto the cupboard and told the girl, "do not eat this meat, for this is the meat of your mother, whom has been murdered most foul by the wolf that now sleeps in her bed!"

Thus the little girl told her mother, "Mother, this cat says that it is your meat that I am about to eat!"

And her mother told her, "Surely this cat is lying, for am I not alive and well, talking to you even now? So throw your stick at the cat and eat the meat to sate your hunger." So the girl obediently threw her stick at the cat, thus scaring it off before consuming the meat.

When she had eaten her fill, she felt thirsty, and told her mother so. "There is a bottle of wine above the fireplace child, drink it, and sate your thirst."

And as the girl went to the fireplace and picked up the bottle, a bird flew onto the fireplace and chirped, "little girl, do not drink this wine, for it is the blood of your mother that has been killed by the wolf whom now lies upon the bed."

And when the little girl said to her mother, "mother, there is a bird that says that this bottle of red wine that I am about to drink is your blood, and that you were killed by a wolf, whom now lies in your place!"

And thus came the reply, "child, am I not alive and well? So is the bird lying. Throw your cloak at it, that you may then drink of the wine in peace, and vanquish your thirst." Thus the girl did as she was told, and drank of the wine, till not a drop was left.

Now when she had eaten and drank her fill, till hungry and thirsty she was not, suddenly the girl felt sleepy. Thus her mother said to her, "come child, and rest by my side. I would have you by me once more." And the girl walked to her mother's side and undressed. Putting her clothes of cotton and wool neatly by the side, she climbed into the sheets with mother, so as to rest. There she saw her mother, looking very strange.

"Why mother," She exclaimed, "what big ears you have!"

"The better to hear you with, my child." Came the reply.

"Why mother," the girl continued, "what big eyes you have!"

"All the better to see you with, my child." Came the reply.

"But mother, what big paws you have!" The girl exclaimed.

"The better to hug you with." Came the reply.

"Oh mother, what big, sharp teeth and terrible mouth you have!" The girl cried out.

"The better to eat you with!" The wolf said.

And at that, the wolf pounced upon the girl and devoured her, rending apart her flesh and bone, eating her alive, ignoring her screams.

And thus, the wolf ate the girl, sating its hunger.


For more details on this topic, see Kerberos saga chronicles.

The story is set in a parallel 1950s Japan, in which Germany and not the United States has conquered Japan. It focuses on Kazuki Fuse, a member of the elite Kerberos Panzer Cops, a metropolitan antiterror unit equipped with heavy personal armor ("Protect-Gear"), Stahlhelm helmet enhanced with masks containing breathing and night-vision gear, and German-built MG42 machine guns. Trained to behave like a pack of dogs, hence the "Kerberos" term, Fuse confronts his own humanity when he fails to shoot a young female terrorist; the girl detonates a bomb in front of him, not only killing herself but damaging the capital's infrastructure and the Kerberos Corps' relations with the other police authorities. Fuse strikes up an ill-fated romance with Kei – an ex-terrorist posing as the sister of the deceased – whom he meets as she mourns her "sister's" death.

Political background[edit]

Jin-Roh features many references to the political situation in Japan during the 1960s and early 1970s. During this time there were massive student protests from the left-wing centered around (but not exclusive to) the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty (the ANPO Hantai movement). Mamoru Oshii along with Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata were part of this political movement.

The references in Jin-Roh to Germany taking over Japan parallel the political fears of the time, where many left-wing political factions thought that the Fascists were returning to power[citation needed]. These fears were exacerbated by the assassination of the head of the Japan Socialist Party, Inejiro Asanuma, while addressing the Diet on live television. Fears were further exacerbated by the current head of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Nobusuke Kishi who was a convicted war criminal. This general sense of turbulence is featured throughout the film.

The Capitol Police are an analog to the special police forces that were set up in response to Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, which forbade any military force, and political pressure from the United States to be prepared to fight the Communists. By the 1960s Japan had set up a virtual military under the title of a police force to circumvent this law. This form of military is exaggerated through the Capitol Police in Jin-Roh. (See, however, Bereitschaftspolizei for German police very much like the Capitol Police.) The protesters are all in reference to the anti-ANPO student groups of the 1960s, who not only demanded a repeal of the security treaty but also fought for improved labor conditions and changes in economic and social policy. Eventually these groups fell apart due to infighting and a system of compromises between the government bureaucracy, labor, keiretsu, and the LDP.

Jin-Roh looks at this political situation as an allegory to the current state of Japan which was ruled by the LDP continuously from 1955 to 2009 with very little political opposition. This lack of opposition is shown by Fuse's inability to break from the "pack" in which he belongs, thus criticizing Japan as an overly conformist society unwilling to accept change even when times warrant it.


Mamoru Oshii had wanted to do Jin-Roh several years prior, and was about to propose the project to Bandai Visual at a meeting. However, they offered him to a job he could not turn down, so the project was put on back burner. The film he ended up making instead was Ghost in the Shell.[2] In the end though, the condition set by Bandai Visual to produce the film was for Mamoru Oshii NOT to direct it, after the two live versions of the series, The Red Spectacles and StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops, did not sell very well. So he offered the job to Mr. Okiura, the animation supervisor who criticized Oshii's handling of accuracy in stage setting during the famed museum sequence featured in Ghost in the Shell. The only thing Mamoru Oshii did after writing the script was to write up additional agitation speech for the opening protest scene, just before the dubbing. He happened to be in the same building for re-mastering of Patlabor: The Movie 2.

The film's musical score was composed by Hajime Mizoguchi.


The Kerberos saga officially started in 1987, as a radio drama series followed by a black and white live-action feature The Red Spectacles. Since then, it was adapted and extended to various media such as manga series, live-action films, anime films and radio dramas with recent novel, animation and short live-action film spin-off episodes.

Even though Jin-Roh is the last episode of the feature trilogy, its plot is actually a prequel as it relates events happening before the Kerberos Riot which is the starting point of the two other movies. Returning characters are Bunmei Muroto from The Red Spectacles and three others who previously appeared in the manga series Kerberos Panzer Cop, these are Isao Aniya, Tatsumi Shiro and Hajime Handa. The Kerberos and Little Riding Hood character concepts first appeared in the 1987 original radio drama While Waiting For The Red Spectacles. The featured fictitious organizations and groups as well as the Protect-Gear are key parts of Oshii's Kerberos saga, as are the Tachiguishi. The latter being not featured in Jin-Roh, which can be explained by the anime direction not assumed by the original story's creator but by another person. Artistic direction is partially different compared to the manga, variations include character design, most notably uniforms - which are Germanized to harmonize with the German warfare - as well as the Protect-Gear design which is slightly different than the manga version though. In the other hand parts of the general design are faithful to the manga, being vehicles or weapons.

Hellhounds: Panzer Cops, the English adaptation of Kerberos Panzer Cop (Dark Horse Comics 1994).

Jin-Roh's Kazuki Fuse is inspired by StrayDog's Inui which was himself partially inspired by Toru Inui featured in Kerberos Panzer Cops Act 1. Fuse seems to be drawn after Yoshikatsu Fujiki, who played as Inui in the 1991 live-action film StrayDog. This Japanese actor does voice cast for Fuse and some of his facial expressions as Inui are used for the anime character. The similarity is obvious in both works' last, tragic, scene.

Jin-Roh was originally planned to be the third and final live-action feature film of the Kerberos trilogy, but its production wasn't possible until 1994, while Oshii was already working on Ghost in the Shell. As the filmmaker wasn't able to produce two films in the same time but didn't want someone else to direct his final episode, Oshii decided that the third episode would be an anime instead. He committed Jin-Roh as a debut film to a trusted young collaborator, Hiroyuki Okiura for he worked on animation movies such as Ghost in the Shell (character designer) and Patlabor: The Movie 2.[3]

The Protect-Gear used by the Panzer Cops is a clear influence on the Helghast soldier armor in the video game series Killzone.


Printed media[edit]

  • 2000.06: Jin-Roh Behind Of The Screen (official making book)
Japanese text, Mamoru Oshii, Production I.G, ISBN 4-04-853219-7
  • 2000.09: Jin-Roh Maniaxx (mook -magazine/book-)
Japanese text, Mamoru Oshii, Kadokawa Shoten, ISBN 4-87892-192-7
  • 2000.12: Jin-Roh Screenboard Book (official storyboard)
Japanese text, 522p., Hiroyuki Okiura, Production I.G
available in the L.E. DVD set only


  • 2000.06: Jin-Roh Original Motion Pictures Soundtrack (CD)
Hajime Mizoguchi feat. Gabriela Robin, Members of Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Victor Ent. VICL-60569
  • Canada United States 2002.03: Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade Sound Track (CD)
Bandai Ent.
available in the L.E. DVD set only


Festival Year Result Award Category
Fant-Asia Film Festival Canada 1999 2nd Best Asian Film Best Asian Film
Fantasporto Portugal 1999 Won Fantasia Section Award Best Film – Animation
Fantasporto Portugal 1999 Won International Fantasy Film Special Jury Award Special Jury Award
Fantasporto Portugal 1999 Nominated International Fantasy Film Award Best Film
Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival [4] 2000 Won Minami Toshiko Award International Competition
Mainichi Film Concours 2000 Won Mainichi Film Concours Best Animated Film
Japanese Professional Movie Awards 2001 Won Special Award Special Award


Hyper commends the film for its "art direction and character design which are beautiful examples of hand-drawn animation and the music fits the action (or lack thereof) brilliantly. However, the film's "slow, deliberate pace" is criticised.[5]


  1. ^ Discotek Media - Tijdlijnfoto's. Facebook. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  2. ^ Dan42's JIN-ROH lair (Interviews). Dan42.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  3. ^ Making Of Jin-Roh interview featured in the Jin-Roh DVD published by CTV Int'l
  4. ^ "YUBARI INTERNATIONAL FANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL 2000". yubarifanta.com. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  5. ^ "Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade". Hyper (Next Media) (166): 84. August 2007. ISSN 1320-7458. 
  • Gordon, Andrew (2003). A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511060-9. 
  • Gustav Horn, Carl (2002). "Frontiers of Total Filmmaking: Mamoru Oshii Creator of Jin-Roh." Pamphlet from DVD. Jin-Roh: the Wolf Brigade Special Edition.
  • Ruh, Brian (2004). Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-6334-7. 

External links[edit]