This was a great taste of action-science fiction from an era of anime that’s sort of long gone now. Well, if you consider 15 years a long time ago, and probably it is – in terms of trends and audience tastes, perhaps.
But that’s not what’s important here.
Instead, here’s little on the premise/plot, before I focus on other things:
Strait Jacket is set an alternate history where magic was proven to exist and spread throughout all facets of society and changed the social and technological development of the world. Rayotte Steinberg, a lone wolf ‘tactical sorcerist’, fights against monsters while wearing a ‘mold’, the straight jacket that keeps him human. (Adapted from Wiki/MAL)
All classic stuff that will usually catch my attention, since I’m pretty easy to please.
Strait Jacket (Sutoreito Jaketto) 2007
However, I will say that events in the Strait Jacket OVAs/film are clearly part of a wider story (it’s adapted from a light novel series), giving me the sense that there is much more to learn about the characters, if only viewers had been given a chance to do so – say, via a full series.
So maybe Strait Jacket was too short but that might be exactly what you’re looking for, and in addition, there are resolutions to a few of the problems the characters face, one of which is major enough to provide an actual ending.
If I was going to continue grumbling here, I guess I felt that the ending itself was a little less impactful than maybe it could have been… perhaps.
I’m more confident noting that a fair amount of the magic/technology as it was used in the film could have used extra grounding.
Actually, now that I’ve said that there is one more thing – the (lesser) antagonists were not as compelling as the heroes for me. That’s at least in part due to the running time of the anime, again I’d say it’s because there wasn’t enough space to expand things, and obviously the light novel series has the luxury of an extended narrative to fix that issue.
And so, now that it turns out that I’ve spent most of the review quibbling over minor flaws, I should finally go over what I really enjoyed – and below, you’ll see ‘4 Stars’, so I clearly liked Strait Jacket a fair bit.
For one, I did enjoy the characters (especially Inspector Simmons). Some of the conflicts faced by the supporting cast also worked as a nice contract to the more stable or at least hidden past that existed between lead Reiott and his mysterious sidekick, Kapel.
Throughout, the use of colour and lighting stood out for me – though I’ll spare you any rhapsodising and just note that some of the images throughout show some of those aspects I enjoyed.
Straight Jacket features some pretty big action sequences and ace mechanical and creature design also – as an example, the plucked/roast chicken shape, rather than being too comical, remained unnerving here:
It was interesting to see the death of a supporting character actually occur ‘off-screen’, since it really worked to drive home the ‘hero-wasn’t-there’ guilt-motivator for events in the final stages of the story.
At other times, there’s a bit more blood and gore than perhaps you’d see on a TV broadcoast anime, so take note if that’s not your thing.
I finished the OVAs pretty interested in the series, keen for more info on the heroes… but that probably won’t happen in a hurry, knowing my disinclination to follow-up on light novels/manga etc, so I’ll probably just have to be happy with what I’ve got on DVD 😀
And before I finish, I want to thank Anime Hanabi for the recommendation – I might not have watched this without your post 🙂