Loups=Garous – As Random as the Equal Sign in the Title
For our next entry in this Let’s Watch a Movie series, I’ll share my thoughts on Loups=Garous… along with Ace Railgun! Ace runs a great blog that has a good variety in its posts–not to mention a ton of impressive artwork for his site’s characters! Be sure to check it all out, but first–let’s take a look at what Loups=Garous has in store for us.
Cute Girls Doing Cute Things… In a Dystopia?
Ace Railgun: Controlled by the government and monitored all times of the day in every location. It’s a pretty standard story idea except that the system in Loups Garous is logically flawed and the seriousness of the situation is taken away by the fact that a bunch of school girls can walk to a park which isn’t monitored and get up to all kinds of nonsense. That and murder can happen without the cameras seeing. Murder happens a few times in Loups Garous and every time it seems kind of strange. The first murder gets justified as defense but when a main character died it’s because she “stole original ideas and created unoriginal art.” She says she didn’t do this but the crazy masked man has no word of this and murders a complete stranger. I’ll admit I lost interest in the middle so this might have been more justified but I missed that if it even happened.
Cholisose: I read the synopsis for this film and got pretty excited. It seemed like a story trying to blend dystopian fiction with some degree of slice-of-life and mystery. I was intrigued! But unfortunately… the film failed to blend the different genres very well for me. This film is kind of a mess, to put it plainly.
Looking at Wikipedia now, the plot for the original novel actually sounds really interesting–but it sounds rather different from what this film gave us. XP I guess I just never got a good feel for how this dystopia operated? And in regards to the slice-of-life… Well, I never quite grasped what these girls normally did, and why the things they did were not allowed (if they weren’t–I’m not even sure what they were or weren’t really allowed to do). Perhaps this should have been adapted into a 12-episode series, or something.
A Flawed Cast
Cholisose: The characters held a lot of promise, I felt. Our protagonist, Makino, was actually a little unique for making her extreme shyness into an actual communications disorder. Too bad the film didn’t delve into that more! I would have liked to see her grow as a character in some way over the course of the story, but all in all she never really did anything. At the very least, I think the film could have used her better as a viewpoint character to really paint the world of the film into a more foreboding, frightening place.
Tsuzuki was probably my favorite character of the four, since she actually had some energy about her. To put it simply, she was a lot of fun! Perhaps a little too by-the-numbers for the genki girl archetype, but I thought it meshed well with the whole computer hacker sidekick trope. If the film had gotten into her backstory even the tiniest bit, I think she could have been a rather interesting character. (Again, I’m thinking this story needed much more time to work with…)
Perhaps the most important character of the main cast though is Kono, the eponymous loups garous… whatever that is. Is she a monster literally in some sense (ie genetically engineered or something?) or is this all just metaphorical? At any rate, she was nice and mysterious. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit I can throw out about her is how her character was handled in the English dub. Apparently the characters all refer to her as a boy (eg “Mr. Kono”), and she is indeed voiced by a man. I can hardly begin to guess why this was done. XD Granted, she has a rather masculine face, but Kono’s clearly a girl (and even wears a schoolgirl’s outfit in a flashback scene). Perhaps the English dub version does this to hint at Kono being a genetically engineered being of some kind? (ie as a “loups garous”, Kono is of neither traditional gender?) Or just wanted to throw in something to make the film even more random than it already was?
Oh, and there was another character, right? …Myao. The Chinese kung fu fighter! I liked her name.
Ace Railgun: Not a single one of those characters had a backstory, not a single one of them. Okay I lied there was a rape scene for one of them as a child so I think that counts. Although the girls all lacked back story they were still interesting enough for me to keep watching until the end. Not a good cast but it could have been so much worse.
Random Plot is Random
Ace Railgun: There was this constant back story which involved the school bringing the girls together to create some j-pop group but I’m not sure what this was suppose to achieve. Occasionally the murder plot is dropped for some awkwardly animation of the j-pop group they aspired to be like and the shy girl dancing like them. This only got worse as it was completely forgotten in the second half of the movie only to be brought back in the final scenes as the girls trash a government facility with j-pop playing in the background.
There was one thing I really liked about ending. You know that scene in every movie where the main characters confronts the big bad guy in his office in the skyscraper and then they have a long conversation before he runs off after being found out for his evil ways and unleashes some evil on the world which results in a huge fight and his arrest. That doesn’t happen… well it kind of does the conversation occurs and then girls get into trouble. At that moment the girl secretly running the whole plot is like “Fuck this shit.” and walks up to the villain and casually stabs him in the neck and rolls her eyes. This was boss and totally redeemed the movie for me.
Cholisose: There were a lot of things hand-waved in this film, and a lot of plot points that seemed rather silly for a murder mystery thriller. Just a few too many “…… Really?” moments to take the film as seriously as it would have liked.
I will admit though that while the Big Bad of the film was completely random and uninteresting, I have to agree with Ace that it was awesome (and hilarious?) how Kono just goes “Sorry, I’m killing you now” in the middle of his Final Intimidation Speech.
Cholisose: This film is all over the place, and not in a creative or artistic way. It’s definitely a plot-driven story, but it doesn’t actually work for me because the story is just so incoherent. And with the characters as undeveloped as they are, it’s difficult to care about any of them very much. It doesn’t help that three of the four main characters are rather bland personality-wise, on top of this. There’s lots of great ideas in this film, but it just does not weave any of them together very effectively. Great art and animation though, particularly for the style used in the character designs. In the end I won’t call Loups=Garous a terrible film, but I’ll have to rate it as mediocre at best (and rather disappointing at worst).
Ace Railgun: Cholisose sums it up nicely, decent story with too many unexplored ideas and poor execution.