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[R2 DVD art (Japanese)]
AKA: ルー=ガルー
Genre: Science-fiction
Length: Movie, 100 minutes
Distributor: Licensed in North America by Section 23 Films
Content Rating: PG-13 (Violence)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Metropolis
Notes:
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars
 

Loups-Garous

Synopsis

In the future, the world is peaceful place where security and food are all taken care of by the SVC. More children have started staying alone and do not come into contact with people and where real communication is kept to minimum. Everyone is watched and monitored closely by the SVC network of cameras. Schools have been replaced by Community Centre. Makino Hazuki is a girl with a communication disorder who has come to Community Centre 122 to learn about real communication. There she met the strange and unemotional Kono Ayumi and the upbeat Tsuzuki Mio. Their seemingly peaceful existence is about to be shattered by a serial killer on the loose.


Review

Loups-Garous is strange. I think it's a movie that requires patience to sit through twice of thrice in order to get it - if you are about as dense as me.

When I initially saw it, I thought that the mood was all wrong. After all, it started off serious enough, with the scene of a serial murder that sets the stage for an investigation. Amidst all this, we are introduce to Makino Hazuki and Tsuzuki Mio who is recruiting for a group assignment, of all things, to relive a girl band. And I thought Loups-Garous was randomly introducing characters just to add to the cool factor - bring in a killer chick with WHOTTA! moves wielding a pair of deadly tonfas that will put Bruce Lee to shame! Add a Ayanami Rei-clone in the form of Kono Ayumi to increase the mysterious feel.

Once I put all these aside, I began to see that Loups-Garous draws some parallel to the real world. Imagine an elitist society, where the rich gets richer and the poor, poor. Where marginalised people live on the fringes of the city, pushed aside and hidden from the rest of society, like hiding a festering sore. It's really happening, even as I'm writing.

Imagine a ruling body that installed close circuit monitor everywhere to track everybody. It's not quite happening now - thankfully, but I don't think there is a single day where I'm personally not caught on close-circuit surveillance camera. Yet, Makino Hazuki, raised in a sheltered cage has come to be dependent on the very system that invades a person's right to privacy.

Tsuzuki Mio probably represents those on the fringes, where nobody is interested in them and as long as they do not do anything outright rebellious, they will be tolerated somewhat. And then, there are the un-sung heroes. I'd like to think this took the form of Reimyao who rescues kidnapped victims but can't be reported because they are unregistered citizens - I think in our context, we call them illegal immigrants. Thank you for the good work but yeah, throw them into the slammers as well.

The only thing that puzzled me was the last main character Kono Ayumi, whom I really don't know what kind of parallel she represents. Maybe she's there to make Hazuki work harder at making friends. Maybe she represents an anomaly. But I just couldn't quite place my finger on it...

The rest of the movie brings the audience through the (occasionally hard) journey our protagonist took in order to break out of the artificial and stiffling world. The pacing of the movie was nicely adjusted such that the audience could sample snippets of their normal life while they were trying to practise for their girl band re-creation.

The only thing I couldn't quite stand was how the writers just had to include moe-ness. This takes the form of Mio's soft toy which later morphs into her backpack and later her robot! I suppose it can't be help seeing how Loups-Garous is a reflection of the human society and the girls were some otaku of sorts anyway. But can't they choose another form of representation!

And as usual, Production IG always deliver where eye candy is concern. The sanitised Area A where Hazuki stays has the clean and green feeling, the slums of Area C with it's poor security. Fighting sequences are nicely choreographed with enough details to leave me drooling for more. Frame rates are excellent and there are more than enough special effects to imitate and make the audience feel that there is really a giant filming camera whizzing around the animated characters.

The opening, ending and some insert songs are provided for by real Japanese rock band SCANDAL which were surprisingly addictive.

Where Loups-Garous fall short, I think, was the ending in explaining what and how SVC all came about. It was a little unbelieveable and didn't quite fit in with all the pieces of the puzzle. I suppose it could have been remedied if they had somehow try to lengthen the film but it does leave the audience feeling flabbergasted. Still, I have to personally applaud the ending - because after all the philosophical hogwash and rambling that was going on and on, the antagonist was killed with a knife to the throat and a simple sentence, "I'm just killing you, that's all". Sometimes, simplicity works.

While I enjoy Loups-Garous, I don't think it fits the bill of a classic sci-fi, the way maybe Ghost In A Shell was. — Diane Tiu

Recommended Audience: Lots of spilled blood, after all there are numerous murder scenes and killing actions.



Version(s) Viewed: Pre-release fansub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Loups-Garous © 2010 Production IG
 
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