Sunday, March 2, 2008

Strait Jacket, episode 1

Based on a light novel (is it just me or is that becoming more and more common now?), Strait Jacket is a very straight-forward mix of magic and technology. After a scientific experiment allows mankind to bring the power of magic from fables into the real world, there is a predictable flood of techno-magical marvels for medical, consumer and (of course) military use. This all comes at a high price, however, as prolonged use of/exposure to magic turns people into monstrous (and nigh-invulnerable) demons. Such outbreaks are apparently on the rise and licensed sorcerers are few and far between, so a perky and earnest young female bureaucrat is forced to hire a mysterious and smart-talking wandering bad-ass to save a hospital full of people from a rampaging demon. It's only after he is deployed that she finds out he has a reputation for going a bit too far, causing significant collateral damage.

Sadly, "tactical sorcerer" really just means "techno-magic mecha pilot" and refuses to really do anything new. The monster shows up, looks menacing, and is ultimately completely obliterated in a huge energy blast that destroys a few nearby buildings - it is very nicely animated, however, and satisfyingly bloody. It takes full advantage of being an OVA. It also manages to set a pretty good mood. The city is nice and gloomy, straight out of some steampunk horror story. The techno-magic gear is gorgeous, with enough nice flourishes and design details to almost make up for the lack of actual tension or suspense. Everything requires ominous incantations to activate and the magical armor and guns eject spent magic shells whenever a big power is used.

Ultimately, Strait Jacket is only mediocre show with a shiny coat of techno-magic paint. Aside from some eviscerations and nice mechnical designs, it could be forgotten among the crowds of action anime starring brooding, mysterious anti-heroes using incredibly over-kill powers against monsters that could pop up anywhere. The post-credit sequence where the perky heroine shows up with all the paperwork necessary to register our hero and get him legit only cements this anime-by-numbers. Wacky adventures are bound to ensue.

It's certainly not bad, but not something to really seek out. Recommended for fans of 'splosions and techno-magic gadgetry. Perhaps future episodes will try something different - or at least provide more fun magical toys.
based on 1 episode : ANN : Wikipedia

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