Blu-ray Review: Loups=Garous

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Loups=Garous is a film surrounded in darkness, deceit and mystery, but is it worth unravelling the truth? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of Loups=Garous.

Synopsis:

From the creators of Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Blood The Last Vampire. After a virus claims millions, most live in the safety of a closed-off world, relegating themselves to an online 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 into this year’s most riveting animated thriller, the cyber-shocker Loups=Garous! (via Fetch Publicity)

Our View:

Loups=Garous is a feature-length-film based upon the Japanese novel by Natsuhiko Kyogoku, whereby in the distant future humans only eat synthetic foods and children are monitored in military fashion via the use of CCTV Cameras and portable terminals named monitors. Despite this ‘military’ approach to protection there is a serial killer on the loose that threatens the balance of the city.

In addition to being heavily monitored through the use of terminal computers, children are required to take part in ‘communication’ exercises, where children are put into groups of four and are required to interact with each other, all of which are monitored by a counsellor named Shizue Fuwa. It’s here that we are introduced to the ‘main cast’ of characters, with Haduki Makino a shy, naïve girl taking centre stage with her friends Mio Tsuduki, who is a tech enthusiast and Ayumi Kono, a mysteriously quiet child.

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Viewers will only discover these facts after the initial opening scenes, which sees a pink-haired girl running for her life as she is hunted down by a psycho in a mask; it’s an intriguing approach to a film, and it’s one that lays down the foundations of things to come, with it transpiring that this pink-haired girl is in fact Yabe Yuko, a member of the communication group that our main cast takes part in. When the group discover that she is missing they decide to ignore the rules of the ‘curfew’ and investigate for themselves what exactly has happened to her, at the same time Shizue Fuwa, along with detective Touji Kunugi, begin their own investigation into the disappearance of Yabe Yuko as well as the reports of murdered children.

From then on the film deviates between the children and the adults as they all try to discover, in their own way, what has happened to Yuko and who the mysterious serial killer is. Furthermore an exceptional amount of twists and plot changes introduce new characters, such as Chinese kenpo expert Myao Rei, and consequences that inevitably lead up to a rather confusing, but intriguing, conclusion.

Extras:

The Loups=Garous Blu-ray disc contains plenty of extras, all of which are presented in Japanese with English Subtitles. Included on the disc you’ll find a variety of Promotional Trailers, Picture Dramas, a Pilot Film and interviews with the Japanese cast.

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While the disc features a variety of extra content the highlight of them all is the Pilot Film, a short film which was used to ‘promote’ the movie. This Pilot is over 10 minutes in length and features scenes that were not used in the main film, whereby we see the girls at different locations taking part in their ‘Communication’ training.

Tech-Specs:

Media: BD 50 x1
Running Time: 1:38:46
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: LPCM 2.0 / 48Khz (English – 1536kbps & Japanese – 2304Kbps)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 23.976 Fps

Overall:

It has to be said that Loups=Garous is one of the most confusing, plot twisting and intriguing films that has been released for a long time with crisp visuals, made better in High Definition, from Production I.G. boosting the experience even more. First time viewers of the film will experience a rollercoaster ride of ever changing scenarios, while repeat performances of the film will guarantee something you missed out on the first viewing.

While the film is visually superb to watch, especially on Blu-ray, some viewers may find the film un-immersive with its stop-start and deviating approach to the story. For instance once Yabe has been located the group decide to preform a dance routine for their school communication project, a piece of information which was only mentioned once at the start of the film, so if you missed it you’d be confused as to why it’s happening. While this segment doesn’t progress the overall story it does create a stronger bond between the group. Similar scenarios like this do take place within the film, with each one deviating from the main plot of the film, but at the same time creating an emotional bond between the main characters.

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Storyline aside the only real flaw with this release is the English Dub track, which has been produced by Sentai Filmworks, as not only is the audio track in 2.0 Stereo, which is unusual for a film, but the performance quality from the voice actors is rather poor, but predictable. I say predictable as the same cast of voice actors (from other Sentai releases) have been used, while the performance itself sounds un-natural, with most voices not fitting the characters on-screen personality. Its feels like the English voice actors just wanted to say the line then go home, theres no emotion or passion into the character they are playing, which for the viewer results in a poor viewing experience. A Japanese Audio track is included, yet again in 2.0 Stereo, and it offers more vocal enjoyment compared to the English edition, even if you dislike watching in Japanese.

At the end of the day though this UK Release by Manga Entertainment UK of Loups=Garous provides everything the film has to offer, As not only do you receive the film in full 1080p high definition, but you also receive a whole host of extra content and its a disc that can be viewed multiple times. In terms of anime comparisons if you enjoyed titles like Eden of the East and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex then you will enjoy Loups=Garous.

Score: review-stars-4

Loups=Garous will be available on DVD & Blu-ray from the 15th April 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to Blu-ray Review: Loups=Garous

  1. I’m sold. A great review.

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