(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 1/14/11)
What this is about: I made the promise that I would review every new subtitled anime show (excluding blatant yaoi and/or porn) released during the Spring, Summer and Fall 2010 seasons, so now I am going back to review a handful of shows that I missed over the past few months for one reason or another. This time around, it’s the Loups=Garous, a feature-length movie released on August 28th, 2010.
tl;dr review: Small band of girls get caught up in serial murder spree in community-less near future; Sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
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Episode Summary: Set a few decades in the future, people avoid physical contact with each other as much as possible, everyone eats synthetic food, everyone lives in their own little houses secured away from each other and everything is done through the internet. Hazuki is a young middle-school girl with a “communication disorder” (what we would call these days as “shy”) and has to make friends with three other girls, including the gregarious Mio, emotionless Ayumi…and the missing Yuko. Turns out she is missing because she is tangled up in a serial murder mystery, and the girls end up breaking curfew and society’s rules to track her down, with the help of the older martial-arts expert Myao. All the girls quickly bond to form a strong friendship, and everything seems to be going well, enough for Yuko to come out of hiding and return home. But as soon as she is handed over to the authorities for safe-keeping she is immediately killed, the rest of the girls become targets, and they uncover a deeply unsettling secret behind the serial killings.
My Thoughts: It all starts out somewhat interesting, laying out a dystopic/utopic future where everything seems peaceful and bright and secure…but also sterile and lonely and unimaginative. Throw in an interesting mix of characters as well, with the annoying, outgoing girl who is also a hacker genius; the cold, calculating loner; the reluctant protagonist caught up in events beyond her control; the mysterious fighter; the caring teacher; the inquisitive detective. Add in a reason for them all to come together (e.g. a murder mystery), and the movie is off and running. Well….not quite. The pieces are all there, but they never seem to really come together. At first I thought it was going to be a movie about the importance of society and friendships, and how anything is possible with friends and all that smarmy-ooky-goodness and such — sort of a morality play on how we are all becoming disconnected from each other by technology in the future. But the ending goes off on a strange tangent involving a hundred-year-old guy with strange tastes and in the end I was just left unsatisfied with it all.
Movie Final Grade: C – Ultimately I was a bit disappointed with the final direction of the movie. While I don’t feel like I wasted two hours of my life, and there were interesting points, it’s just not worth going out of your way to watch. Furthermore, I’m not exactly sure *who* this movie is really aimed at. I would assume that the target audience would be the same as the main characters (that is, adventurous tween girls), but there’s also quite a bit of blood at times and some darker themes that aren’t exactly appropriate for that age group. A very slight thumbs down from me.
Final reviews for a handful of Spring, Summer and Fall 2010 shows that I haven’t covered yet: Occult Academy Special 1-3, Trigun: Badlands Rumble Movie, and Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer