After a virus claims millions, most live in the safety of a closed-off world, relegating themselves to an on-line existence. But when a young girl decides to brave life outside the virtual world, she finds a group of friends—and a killer. Someone is hunting and violently murdering children. Who? And why? And is she the next target? Get plugged in to the the cyber-shocking animated thriller, Loups=Garous!
Source: Sentai Filmworks
To be straightforward, Loups=Garous is a solid B- movie; low-budget and derivative with no liberties taken, but still worthy of your time if you don't have much else to do. There's no outstanding faults in either the dub or sub, but not much in the way of original content either. Despite that, there still exists a fair degree of care in the presentation of the movie's themes, with the top two being totalitarianism & man's "suppressed monster".Background art and music is what we've come to expect from Production I.G.- sublime, world-building, and decadent. Would probably be even more remarkable if given enough time.In spite of Loups=Garous great themes, it's definitely not character driven. Most, if not all characters in the film seem like flat, pre-established archetypes too often seen in modern I.P.- -Ayumi's a stoic, anti-societal kuu-dere.-Haduki's the clumsy, overly anxious type that has trouble expressing her emotions.-Mio's a half-baked Mary Sue that appears out of nowhere in the beginning to assist the characters with superb hacking skills, having no in-depth explanation as to how she acquired those skills, for which Loups=Garous relies on the audience to make assumptions about her character.It also doesn't help that Sentai Filmworks labels Ayumi as a guy, going so far as giving "him" a male voice actor in the dub and even retaining that gender-swap in the subtitles, when said character is a definite female in original Japanese, regardless of character design. It might of been an okay marketing decision for their Blu-Ray, but it's still glaringly misleading.Although the characters felt unoriginal, I certainly didn't hate them. They carried the movie fairly well when they had to, and managed to pull off the sentiment charm when it was required. Not everyone will feel the same way though.There's nothing wrong in expecting Production I.G. to go all out when they make anime movies (since they definitely nailed Break Blade & Eden of the East), but even if corners are cut, movie's like this can still be worth looking at, if you're willing to give 'em a chance.
Animated by Studio I.G. which is superb when it comes to making science fiction settings. They rarely create likable characters though; they feel like robots or generic puppets most of the time. It worked fine for Ghost in the Shell but it is iffy in all the rest. Directed by Fujisaki Junichi, whose only other work was Blood+. Not much to say about him, other than he likes to direct dark and violent shows with schoolgirls. The setting is the only interesting thing I can find in the whole film. It has to do with a future society where peace has been established and the time when people had to kill other people, or even animals for food, is now just a thing of history. There are some though who still commit atrocious acts; they wear masks and are called wolves. So basically we have the heroes, who grew up in a constantly monitored, secured and almost robotically emotionless world full of fancy hi-teck gadgets, suddenly being pitted against a violent society of unregistered people and murderous beasts from a world that was supposed to now be long gone. It is interesting to see these opposite ways of life in a conflict. And this is where all the positives stop since all the rest is one big mess. Here is the horrid black list of the things I disliked.1) So here you are watching this film waiting for cool stuff to happen and in just a few minutes WHAM the harsh reality hits you in the face. All the main characters are part of the plague that kills modern anime: Moe schoolgirls. Damn what a drag, they killed the mood. Sure, having cute / frail / innocent girls going through an emotional hell before getting all horrified and bloody may sound like an instant hook for most casual viewers but it has been done SO many times that now it’s just ridiculous. Plus, the characterization is almost always close to zero as moe is nothing but simplistic personalities and squeaky voices. And indeed, with only one movie worth of duration none of the characters have the time to be anything other than generic moe schoolgirls. They don’t even change clothes when they are not at school for Pete’s sake.2) The foreground artwork, and especially the character designs, is lazy. Apart from being mostly overused caricatures of schoolgirls, there is also very little to no details on them. The visual effects on computers and gadgets are cool but the characters have no interesting uniforms, no complicating facial structure and barely any shading or lightening on their bodies. That makes them look like a lifeless-looking gag manga. I mean just look at those lazily drawn faces!3) The soundtrack is full of girly J-pop that nobody will give a damn about. Where is my epic chorus / synthesizer music you bastards? This is a sci-fi movie! 4) The dialogues felt really artificial. The moe girls constantly repeat the questions as if they don’t understand anything and need to spend most of the duration in breaking the fourth wall just to explain how some common-knowledge issues to them need elaboration. It felt totally retarded. And sure, it fits to have a bunch of oblivious cute girls being gaga with everything but it doesn’t make the plot any better. Here you have an elaborate sci-fi setting that would normally be full of complicating notions and what you get is a bunch of dumb girls going “Duh, food? Duh, mystery? Duh, hacking? Duh, kidnap?” For 90 minutes!5) The plot is retarded. You just have no idea why something happens the way it does and not in a more logical way. - People are kidnapped and the police don’t even know they are missing for weeks, despite having security cameras in every room and road, and despite everybody having a GPS signal on them. You would at least assume the teachers or the parents or the eye witnesses would report to the police how some of the people they know haven’t shown up for weeks or that they saw them being attacked. And no, you get squat! How the devil is this society working if they have so many security systems and yet they can’t do the simplest thing? How did they even reach to such a blissful state if a common kidnaper can do anything he likes and nobody will report him?- A bunch of dumb schoolgirls who are bored of their boring controlled lives are otherwise outsmarting the system and deal with all sorts of mysteries and criminals by just walking around and making a few simple questions. You can’t believe how retarded it feels to have such characters being fifty times more effective than the otherwise awesomely controlled status quo. And as usual, you have no bloody idea of why they never inform the police or anyone else for what they discover that can endanger the lives of millions. - You also have no idea of what is going on with the storyline. You see a girl being attacked but saved at the last moment. Yet in the exact next scene, she is kidnapped for no obvious reason. And when they finally save her for the second time, they let her recover in an open remote bedroom for a week, while they are practicing a teen band song for kicks. Ain’t they scared in the least for what the hell just happened? Why didn’t they tell anyone about it? What are the police doing all this time? How did the movie swift from horror / sci-fi / mystery to a fluffy K-On clone? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Wait, now the girl is attacked for the third time? So much for being more cautious you dumb girl! And then more attacks and stuff that make no sense. I can go on forever with how terrible the storyboard is. Especially the ending where the motives of the villains are revealed. God, what a shitty asspull was that? - What is even dumber than all that is how the whole fuss was resolved by just one character who was just killing anyone getting in its way. Everybody else was just a stunt and eventually useless to the plot; all it took was to take a knife and start killing anything that moved. Thank you very much for the cheap way out and the trashing of the rest of the already generic cast. And the funniest part? Said character was not even the protagonist. The protagonist was in the contrary the most useless of all the moe girls who did absolutely nothing other than crying and running away in the whole damn film. One of the shittiest anime movies of recent times and a shame to the already large bad roster of I.G. titles. And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 7/10 General Artwork 1/2 (lazy for an I.G. level of production) Character Figures 0/2 (generic and lazily drawn) Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series) Animation 2/2 (ok for a movie format) Visual Effects 2/2 (funky sci-fi visuals) SOUND SECTION: 4/10 Voice Acting 1/3 (retarded moe dialogues) Music Themes 1/4 (out of place J-pop crap) Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess) STORY SECTION: 4/10 Premise 2/2 (interesting) Pacing 0/2 (sloppy) Complexity 2/2 (rich context) Plausibility 0/2 (none) Conclusion 0/2 (anti-climactic asspull) CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10 Presence 1/2 (generic) Personality 1/2 (cheesy) Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there) Development 0/2 (non-existent or messy) Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there) VALUE SECTION: 2/10 Historical Value 0/3 (none) Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to bother again with this crap) Memorability 2/4 (cool enough concept to remember but the rest of it is crap) ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10 Art 0/1 (looks lazy) Sound 0/2 (sounds out of place) Story 1/3 (cool concept, shitty presentation) Characters 0/4 (generic and lame) VERDICT: 3.5/10
First off, for those who say the animation is bad for Production I.G. or that the soundtrack seems dated. It was pretty good for the time it was released. Technology has gotten better so has the quality of anime in general. While I've seen many reviewers go into this anime a bit disappointed with how it was marketed, I went in knowing just the basics. This was a story of four girls [Yes, Ayumi is a girl, Sentai Filmworks. Try reading the original properties and actually watching the show you're dubbing. I think the skirt and breasts should be a definite giveaway] who get together to rescue a friend who is being stalked by a serial killer. They let us know from the opening scenes who the murderers are but that that later turns out to be a red herring (something no good mystery can do without) when one of them turns up dead at the hands of another mysterious killer. I absolutely love how the story takes a turn into George Orwell's 1984 only to land somewhere in the middle of Soylent Green. Seeing the whole city (and it's residents) monitored 24 hours a day in a complete state not only touches on 1984 but a bit on what we'd come to see in the future as Psychopass. I can honestly understand why this anime wouldn't be some viewer's cup of tea, though. It can be slow and methodical at times, but every little thing that happens happens for a reason (and usually gives us one more clue to the puzzle). It isn't a hard mystery to fihgure out on the surface but the little mysteries that we're left to solve is an entirely different story. This anime really isn't about the murders but the girls surviving in a tolitarian state with no allies but each other. They're the meat of the plot and they're handled well even bringing their psychoses to the forefront of the story. Some have commented on Hazuki being a useless heroine or MC, but honestly she's not a heroine, useless or even the MC. While the story is shown from her point of view it's just as much Ayumi, Mio, Myao, Yuko and even Fuwa-sensei's story. Hazuki is an agoraphobic shut-in young girl just now discovering the outside world with her friends help. In the same case, I would surely be just as paniced when it seemed we were in over our heads. When she tries to help she often fails. It's not her fault, it's like telling someone who never cooked to bake a cake with no cookbook or recipe at hand. It's not going to go well. Yuko was technically the glue that brought the group together. She was an undocumented citizen (think illegal alien) who had no one to turn to for help but her friends. She was the reason they all put their loneliness aside to get together and go out into the real world. She was the beautiful little butterfly who got her wings plucked off by this society. "Magical Girl" Mio was a hacker in a society where everyone was afraid to. She was the normal everyday rebellious teenager with the smarts to rebel in a big way. It wasn't about hacking for hacking's sake with her but hacking for a better world. She saw herself a hero. Myao is the harsh, quiet Elektra meets Dirty Harriet of the bunch. She's part ninja, part street fighter, but all friend to the other girls. I especially love how she wasn't shown as superhuman, just as a skilled fighter shades of Huntress or Batgirl. She's as close to a superheroine as this society gets. Fuwa-sensei's mystery (of her mother's death) sets the stage for another piece of the puzzle. The chemistry between her and Kunugi set off so many romance flags I was surprised where it went in the end. The fact that the killers used her to get a list of potential victims was heart-breaking. Ayumi's story was honestly the most interesting next to Hazuki's. A lot of viewers saw Ayumi for what she had done (killing in cold blood) wondering how her friends could accept her after seeing her butcher their enemies (saying how unrealistic it would be). Myself, if a friend killed someone ready to kill me, no matter how violently, I'd hug the friend in love and thanks. Viewers saw Ayumi as a warped individual who thought herself a werewolf. She never claimed herself a werewolf, she even went as far as describing what she was in detail. She considered herself a Loup=Garous, a beast who kills with no compassion and remorse. From her backstory we learned she wasn't metally deranged just mentally unstable from being raped and almost murdered by a serial killer [Sentai Filmworks, I'd suggest you watch this scene carefully if you still think Ayumi is a boy]. He told the girl who was in shock that the knife was empowerment that would set her free. She grasped it and did just that. It was obvious it was a recent event and she was still going through the trauma of the attack. We saw her haze break when Hazuki hugged her, taking her hand telling her there was nothing to forgive. Then she left. Most likely she's in a hospital in treatment but we never know. From Hazuki's response it's obvious that she's in love with Hazuki and plans to stay there waiting for her to come back. If you went in expecting this to be a psychological mystery or an anime about a group of friends you're sure to have at least liked it if not loved it. If you went in expecting a werewolf horror or even a slasher/gorefest you're sure to be disappointed. For me, it was a great movie with well-thought out characters.
There are no custom lists yet for this series.