Strait Jacket--Anime (film)

When I grow up I want to be a few things:
1. Dean Winchester! (Or Sam, if I have to. I'd be a little disappointed close to perfect, yet so far away.)
2. Part of an evil travelling circus akin to the one Bradbury writes about in "Something Wicked this Way Comes."
3. A priest who is called upon to advise church leaders in instances of supernatural phenomena as a result of my occult research.
4. One of a small group of intrepid folk who fight for survival during the coming zombie wars.
5. A secret rock star like Hannah Montana (well, maybe not that one).
6. A tactical sorcerer like the characters in Strait Jacket (as long as I don't turn into a gross blobby monster thing).

The film is set in a steampunky alternate future/past (I can't tell which) where scientists from the Potter-esquely named Magic Administration Bureau have successfully brought magic (in the form of a sort of laser alchemy?) "from myth into reality." After this "scientific" discovery the government and private sectors began utilizing magic in everyday life to aid public welfare, medicine, agriculture and, most inauspiciously, in connection with the military. Surprise--things go wrong!

People using magic are occasionally transformed by something referred to as "The Curse," turning into gross blobular demons who do things like cut people in half with their demonic appendages before eating them. And a terrorist group known as The Ottomans starts using magic to run amok in the city. But I guess it's not like they could, let's say, STOP USING MAGIC IF IT MAKES PEOPLE INTO MONSTERS! Jeesh! It turns out it isn't that easy. People are addicted to magic and the power it's like crack. There are even children being born with "hereditary magic poisioning" which the MAB calls Child Sorcery Addiction like a sort of otherworldly supernatural Fetal Alcohol Syndrom. These kids are magic crack babies. Something must be done!

The MAB creates Tactical Sorcerers to combat the growing numbers of demons and counter the terrorist magic attacks. Tactical Sorcerers are protected fro their own tranformations by sigil body paint and charmed armor called "The Mold" which keeps them from turning into the demons they battle. It is this "mold" that earned these warriors the nick-name, Strait Jackets.  Unfortunately, "The Mold" isn't infallable the Strait Jackets are always risking their own lives in more than one fashion when the battle these demons.

The film begins as Junior Agent Mary Simmons is called to a hospital under siege from a doctor who transformed mid-surgery into a blood thirsty monster (and a gross blobular one at that). The city itself is in dire straights, so many people are transforming as a result of sabatogued molds (by terrorists) or irresponsible magic use that there aren't quite enough Tactical Soldiers to go around. Without options and with the death count rising inside the hospitals wards, Mary finds herself suddenly calling on the assistance of unlicensed (and illegal) Tactical Sorcerer Reiotto Steinberg. Rey is hot as hell and kind of a grumpy bad-ass who spends his time atoning for past sins. He seems callous on the surface, but has a weakness for kids coupled with an admirable sacrificial/suicidal streak. These are all of the things I like in my reluctant heroes.

A sinner looking for redemption. Oh, tortured Rey...mmm...

The animation is a little graphic, but quite beautiful. The spell-casting battles against demons are dramatic with a whole lot of interesting shouting. "I defy all laws and transcend reason!" I think that's a great battle cry.  I kind of wish that were my battle cry.

The story of Rey's attempt at redemption is touching and unnerving at points. He is a sympathetic character who pushes himself closer and closer to the breaking point in every battle. Mary proves herself to be more than the annoying petty beaurocrat she seems at first. One of the side-characters, a very heroic Tactical Sorcerer named Hammond, serves as a foil to Rey, and his life, like the lives of others before him, ends badly. In fact, everything ends badly. But, like the Winchesters say, "it all ends bloody or sad," Dear Readers, sorry. Strait Jacket ends  bloody AND sad,  but it's still worth a watch.

1 comment:

James Parker Lombard said...

You should probably put that "bloody and sad" bit in quotes since you straight up stole it out of my mouth, M.

I suppose I would plagiarize me too, if I were you. So, you are forgiven...don't let it happen again.