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And at that, the wolf pounced upon the girl and devoured her, rending apart her flesh and bone, eating her alive, ignoring her screams.
Handa: "Tales of beasts getting involved with humans always end on a bad note."
The main character is Kazuki Fuse, a member of a heavily armed special forces unit (Kerberos) of the police. At the beginning of the film he witnesses the desperate suicide of a young girl who was delivering explosives to an anti-government riot. The suicide bomb cuts power lines causing a large blackout; as a result the police lose control of the situation and Fuse gets into trouble with the brass as he could've prevented this by shooting the girl. The audience is then introduced to a power war going on behind the scenes, between the police unit Fuse is part of and a rival entity called Public Security. Later on, Fuse meets Kei Amemiya who looks like the dead girl and claims to be her older sister. Is it the truth, or is she hiding something? Despite his suspicions, Fuse doesn't reject her company.
The film's title "Jin-Roh" comes from a rumored counterintelligence cell operating inside Kerberos itself as it slowly builds up to be an important part of the story.
Somewhat jarringly for a cynical political drama, Jin-Roh is mostly remembered for the impressive and menacing heavy armor worn by Fuse. It is often confused with the armor worn by the Helghast faction in the first person shooter Killzone (which it possibly inspired).
Jin-Roh provides examples of:
- Alternate History: The film takes place in the 1960s. Germany won World War II, occupied Japan and has only recently moved out, leaving it in economic and political turmoil. Most of the weapons and vehicles seen are German.
- Ammunition Backpack: Played (kind of) straight; While the MG42s that the Panzer Cops carry is fed from a loose ammo belt, their armor includes a backpack that dispenses extra ammo belts when the user needs to reload.
- Armor Is Useless: Inverted — Fuse's Protect-Gear shields him against close-range bomb blasts and automatic gunfire.
- Barrier-Busting Blow: During a training exercise, Fuse surprises the trainer who is about to storm the room he was in by crashing through the wall.
- BFG: The hand-held MG42 machine guns used by the Kerberos unit are completely overkill.
- Bullet Sparks: One of the notable exceptions.
- Caught in the Rain: Fuse and Kei kiss for the first time while hiding from their pursuers in a rain-drenched rooftop playground.
- Cool Guns / Rare Guns: Ranging from the Broomhandle Mauser to the StG44 assault rifle.
- Deadly Hug: Fuse shoots Kei as she does a Cry Into Chest.
- Decoy Protagonist: The movie begins by following a girl in a red hood sent to deliver a package. Shortly after she detonates the bomb she's carrying, killing herself in front of Fuse, the real protagonist.
- Dirty Coward: Henmi.
- Downer Ending: It was written by Oshii, after all. He really likes his cynicism.
- Down in the Dumps: The finale
- Fairy Tale Motifs: The original German version of Little Red Riding Hood is used metaphorically throughout the film.
- Gambit Pileup: Everyone has an angle. Most involve manipulating Fuse. Turns out he already knows and is manipulating them.
- Although he has been manipulated into manipulating them.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Though mook isn't exactly the right word.
- Get It Over With: When Fuse catches Henmi at the end of the final shootout, he just stands still and waits while Henmi demands to know once again why he didn't shoot at the beginning of the film. Fuse doesn't answer, and finally shoots Henmi.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Kerberos unit helmets have goggles with red lenses. The point is made clear.
- Government Agency of Fiction
- Grey and Gray Morality: Of the cynical kind. Might even be Black and Grey Morality depending who you ask.
- Honey Trap: Kei pretends to be the sister of the suicide bomber shot by Fuse. She's actually a terrorist turned police informer.
- I Am Not Shazam: Fans can often tell who has and has not seen the film (or any entry in the series) based on whether they call the men in Protect Gear "The Wolf Brigade" or "Panzer Cops".
- Implacable Man: Fuse becomes this near the end of the film as he hunts down the Public Security agents that were trying to follow him. Can be applied to all Kerberos cops since the armor is very durable and most of the guns seen in the film have nowhere near enough firepower to begin with.
- Interservice Rivalry: The entire film. The Public Security Division intend to create a fake scandal (the romance between cop Fuse and terrorist Kei) to give them the excuse to disband the Kerberos, which has become a political embarrassment.
- It Got Worse: Sums the film up, really.
- Kill the Cutie: Fuse kills Kei Amemiya.
- Love Redeems: Brutally averted as Fuze's loyalty to his pack proves stronger than his love for Kei.
- Manipulative Bastard: Most of the cast.
- May-December Romance: Between Kei and Fuze.
- More Dakka: And it only takes one fully armed Kerberos unit member to do this, with just one gun no less.
- Mythology Gag: Many scenes are influenced by the manga, although the film makes them into pure art.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The English language trailer has a lot of wolf imagery and lines about "wolves disguized as men" and "a man destined to live as a beast". These are purely metaphorical, there are no werewolves in the movie.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Fuse.
- Putting on the Reich: This is the trope this series is most remembered for.
- Recurring Dreams: And Bad Dreams to boot. Fuse sees the dead girl in his dreams and each time the dream gets worse.
- Resignations Not Accepted
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The terrorists use adolescent girls as bomb couriers.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Smug Snake: Henmi, in spades.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Fuse and Kei
- The Slow Walk: Fuse as he kills Henmi's men one by one.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Kerberos cops don't show much mercy to their targets and riddle them with bullets. The completely one sided carnage of pitting anyone against the Kerberos cops is animated in a glorious mess of muzzle flash, blood and smoke. To say nothing of Fuse's disposal of Henmi.
- You Can Never Leave: After Fuse kills Kei, another Kerberos cop is shown decocking his Broomhandle Mauser which he was aiming at the two, making it clear what would have happened to Fuse if he'd refused to kill her.
- You Know Too Much: Kei must be killed to guarantee Public Security can't find her and do the same — as long as she's missing, they can't be sure Kei isn't under protective custody somewhere, ready to give evidence if needed.
Tropes in other works in the Kerberos Saga:
- Action Girl: Midori, a woman in the Panzer Cops who is not afraid to take the lead.
- Arc Words: "Who is your master?" and many other questions.
- Anime Chinese Girl: Tang Mei from Stray Dog.
- Chickification: This happens to Midori in Red Spectacles but the fact that Midori ends up this way is actually something that Koichi is dreaming up.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Shortly before storming an embassy, one of the Panzer Cops talks about how he wants to own a blimp. There are also numerous conversations written by Mamoru Oshii, especially about dogs and men.
- Cool Shades: Koichi wears these all the time, even while wearing a Protect Gear helmet and while taking a shower.
- Crapsack World: The poor conditions of Alternate History Japan are further elaborated upon. After the Panzer Cops were forcefully disbanded, It Got Worse.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The film Red Spectacles.
- Dirty Coward: Many characters believe Koichi to be this, for taking a suit of Protect Gear and flying off to a foreign country rather than sticking with the rest of the Kerberos Panzer Cops.
- Downer Ending: Repeatedly, some of which make Jin-Roh's ending look peaceful and nonviolent in comparison.
- Drunken Master: Koichi, after enduring a harsh interrogation, breaks free after being force-fed some cheap alcohol.
- Dying Dream: In Red Spectacles it turns out that Koichi died when he was first ambushed in the hotel.
- Enemy Mime / Monster Clown: During the post-Panzer-Cops era, the government of Japan employs psycho-killer constantly-laughing-or-smiling white-painted-faced red-lipstick killers.
- Fight in The Nude: Koichi fights off a lot of armed mooks with just a handgun and exaggerated martial arts.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Midori, a.k.a. "The Crack Shot," can snipe with a Mauser C96.
- Improbable Weapon User: Afther the Panzer Cops are disbanded, Souichiro's signature weapon becomes a pool cue. He can even throw it into a man's head.
- Interservice Rivalry: Just as important as in Jin-Roh.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Played for Laughs as Koichi hilariously slaps and strips the clothess off of a gangster.
- Leave the Camera Running: Most-prevalent in Stray Dog
- Lolicon: In Stray Dog, Inui accuses Koichi of having this kink due to his relationship with Tang Mei.
- MacGuffin: It turns out that the main reason Bunmei was hunting for Koichi was to get his suitcase which is supposed to contain a suit of Protect Gear, but the suitcase was actually full of Red Spectacles.
- Meaningful Name: Inui, the "stray dog" from the manga who whose background and personality would later influence Kazuki Fuse. The name was re-used for the protagonist of Stray Dog.
- Mysterious Woman: The Red Riding Hood from Red Spectacles - nothing is ever explained about her, or why she appears in the situations that she does.
- Number of the Beast: Multiple times.
- Retcon: The date in which the events depicted in the series occur, especially the Kerberos Riot, has been moved back from the 1990s to the 1960s.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: In addition to their actions in Jin-Roh, they also purposely recruit people 15-years-old and younger, take hostages, hijack airplanes, etc.
- Scenery Gorn: One chapter of the manga has pages full of views of junkyards and landfills.
- Scenery Porn: In Stray Dog, quite possibly some of the most ever seen in anything involving Mamoru Oshii.
- Serious Business: Eating fast-food while standing up.
- The Siege: The Kerberos Panzer Cops held out for 40+ days before finally surrendering.
- Special Effects Evolution: The firearm props in The Red Spectacles are all either cap-firing replicas or non-firing models. The MG 42 used in Stray Dog is a real firearm converted to fire blanks.
- Sunglasses At Night: Koichi does this.
- Surreal Horror: Red Spectacles gets increasingly David Lynch like as it approaches the end.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Inui from Stray Dog, much like Kazuki Fuse, has a high ratio of bullets used to people killed.