It is the world where magic and science coexist. Rayotte Steinberg, a lone wolf "tactical sorcerist", fights against monsters. They used to be human beings, but they had overused forbidden power, "magic", to turn into monsters. What he wears is "mold", the straight jacket that keeps him being a human. What he holds on his hand is "staff", a magical wand that explodes everything. If he casts magic, he moves one step to be a monster. If he doesn't, he will be killed. Among the harsh battles, he will face a sin he had committed in the past.
Story: 6 (what do you expect from 3 episodes)
Art: 10 (Edge of your seat action sequencesl)
Sound: 8 (A lot of bodies ripping apart)
Character: 7 (Typical bad ass action buffs)
Enjoyment: 10 (I've seen it twice already)
Overall: 41/50 = 8.2 = ~8 (So much action in 60 minutes)
Strait Jacket manages to put more action, violence, and drama in 3 episodes than some action drama series can put in 50+ episodes. If you are a complete action aficionado, this is one that you CANT MISS. Theres not much you can explain in terms of story but they manage to make a good beginning middle and end to this OVA. Basically magic technology is advancing civilization so much that everything requires magic. But overuse and misuse can have its drawbacks and thats where we start this show. An elite armed force unit hired to dispatch these anomalies.
The story is obviously second to the action because these fight scenes take up over half of each episode and thats perfectly fine with me. Just everything about the fight scenes screams completely over the top. From ripping people to shreds to using super powerful guns that rips holes through buildings. It all just screams edge of your seat action. Now I'm sure you're saying, "a lot of anime do the same thing what makes this one so special?" Details my friend, details.
First off, the monsters they cook up for this show is something only to be seen to be believed. Although for the most part they're pretty ridiculous, but they will still make you go "woah" when you see them. But the artwork, camera angles, and detail to everything is just amazing. You actually feel the sense of destruction and power when watching a show like this. For seasoned action freaks like me, thats very hard to do considering we are usually numbed by things like that.
Overall this show, was completely awesome for a 3-episode stint. The story had a pretty reasonable beginning, middle, and end with even a plot twist that even surprised me (but I think that was mostly because I was still amazed with the action). For being such a short series, I highly recommend this to anyone who likes action, violence, and amazing artwork. Although, those who doesn't like gratuitous violence you might want to watch this. read more
Strait Jacket is a 3 episodes OVA. Which is, no matter how you look at it, finished within a flash.
But truth be said, after seeing some of the artwork and reading a synopsis about Strait Jacket, I just had to watch it.
Good thing It wasn't disappointing. The scenes were quite well done; though you always see details that could have been better. Such as battle scenes being done too fast and the magic not being well explained. But what do you expect from 3 episodes; there wasn't any time to do so.
However, Strait Jacket did a perfectly fine job on making 3 episodes worthwhile and actually make sense. A lot of short Anime series (OVA in particular) explain nothing and/or let nothing happen due to their short time. Some even rush things through a few episodes and gives us an open ending.
Strait Jacket isn't one of them. Though you might consider it to have an open end; it is not a cliffhanger and doesn't really disappoint you. It's just what you'd expect it to be. Nothing too flasy, nothing too fancy, nothing weird, awkward or lame. It is quite enjoyable and can be watched with a coke and some popcorn. See it as watching a movie; since it in total is almost as long.
I give this series a 7 overall, though the sounds get an 8 from me. It really adds up to the series, creates suspense and isn't repeated too much. Other words, it's perfectly fine, just like the OVA is.
So really, if you have little time to kill and want to enjoy a good serie within a short amount of time; this is a pretty good choice. read more
I take it from the number of recent reviews that, much like with Negadon, most of the people will probably be familiar with this through Sci-Fi's 10/20/08 airing. Strait Jacket is definitely an OVA worth watching, and a pretty easy one to watch at that. Not too hard on plot elements, backstory, or technobabble/magibabble, it's not exactly a laid-back anime but it's something that can be enjoyed with a full bucket of popcorn, just be careful not to spill any after seeing a few "OH SNAP!" moments here and there.
Before going into detail, I should add that what makes this OVA work for the English-speaking world is its nearly spot-on dub. The dub isn't perfect, and in some areas can be less than stellar (I'm less than impressed with the dub of Mary Simmons, who comes off as a pretty weak character, despite being voiced by Bridget Hoffmann) but with a cast made of up, get this: Steve Blum, Crispin Freeman, Vic Mognogna (yes, you read that right: all three in the same OVA!) Kari Wahlgren, Jamieson Price, and Lara Jill Miller along with the aforementioned Bridget Hoffman, you just cannot go wrong.
Story: 7 (Good)
The story is not exactly exceptional but far from bland and unoriginal: it's the late 19th century, and people have figured out how to mechanize sorcery, basically. Since practicing too much sorcery can have nasty side effects, mainly turning people into homocidal demons, sorcerists wear "mould suits" which allows them protection. However, sometimes these suits fail, and the number of demon transformations have risen due to mold suit sabotage by a terrorist group calling themselves "Oddman." It's up to the Tactical Sorcerists, or "Strait Jackets" to deal with these demon outbursts. Hammond is one of these sorcerists; he considers his rival Steinberg to be an extreme danger due to his unlicensed status, unrestrained methods and sometimes downright suicidal attitude, which may have something to do with the relationship he has with the strange little girl Capeltata.
The story alone is not what makes this OVA great, but it's not something just tacked on either.
Art: 7 (Good)
Anymore, the art really can't be considered all that special, but given the average state of art in anime in recent years (a pretty big jump in quality, and pretty much light-years over some of the darkest days in the medium; see M.D. Geist, Mad Dog 34 or Vampire Wars) that's almost becoming a compliment, and if you can't be spectacular, at least being average beats the other alternative, especially when "average" is becoming pretty darn decent lately.
Though, speaking of M.D. Geist this OVA doesn't spare on the blood and gore either. It lacks the sheer cheese factor of that particularly ancient and bad OVA, but take it as you will in regards to whether it drags the OVA down or props it up.
Sound: 8 (Very Good)
It's hard to determine, really, whether all the points that contribute to this category being so high really deserve to belong here or over at the character column, because the voice acting really goes far towards making this OVA work. But even if you take all that out, we get some pretty awesome sound effects.
Character: 8 (Very Good)
Ahh, now we get to the best part. The characters are great, and its entirely thanks to their English VA's. Mary Simmons, despite having Bridget Hoffman behind her, does tend to fail, but given the opportunities for the rest of the cast (hey, it's got Steven Blum and Crispin Freeman as the leads) there's not much that can be said other than you simply can't go wrong. If you want to experience just how awesome Freeman and Blum can be, let alone together, you owe it to yourselves to see this.
Enjoyment: 8 (Very Good)
And that's just what this OVA is: awesome, and Blum's and Freeman's voices are just dripping of it. Trust me, you may not enjoy all 90 minutes but you'll enjoy darn near close to it. The only real damn shame about Strait Jacket is that unlike Read or Die there's no series to follow it, but given how recent this OVA is hopefully that will change soon.
Sorcery was brought out of superstition and myth to be used in everyday life activities such as medicine, agriculture, and even the military. Society has grown quite fond of its use to the point were they have been completely dependant upon it. However, there's a penalty for constant use, which happens to be that the user would soon lose control of it, and transform into a blood thirsty monster murdering everyone in its path. Modern weapons are useless against the creatures, therefore to combat these creatures an organization named The Sorcery Management Bureau, deploys men clad in armor called Tactical Sorcerist. The armor is referred to as Mold, and it's equipped with heavy artillery supported by sorcery. Leiot Steinberg is a rogue sorcerist that takes up a job and finds himself working for the bureau; but his very presence aggravates another Mold user by the name of Isaac Hammond. -summary
Strait Jacket is supposedly the first part of a three episode OVA that was being released in 2007. Honestly, I don't know how true that is since things seemed pretty cleared up to me, and I haven't heard anything about a sequel or additional OVA's; but it's not like I actually care if this story continues anyway. In any case, this is pretty much another run o' the mill action anime title that is over-saturated with cliché characters, ie; main character searching for that "thing" to live for, chibi character who hardly ever strings together more than one complete sentence to maintain the mystery, all the way down to the predictable climax and the usual government conspiracies. I don't have a problem with the complete lack of originality as long as the story and plot is interesting. Unfortunately, outside of the visuals and brief action scenes, there is little to find interesting here.
We get to know quite a bit about the bland characters, and they do serve their purposes as plot devices but I really wasn't attached to any of them, and I couldn't care less where they were going either. Instead, I just couldn't wait for them to get there. I mean everyone was putting me to sleep. The plot really is very straight forward and easy to digest, but it's also predictable and badly written. It mainly follows Leiot either attempting to stop another rampage, tid bits on his past, or Isaac's development. There was a small attempt at mystery but it was completely wasted, because the writers decided to expose some of the facial hairs of the suspicious man hiding half way in the shadows, and there was only one person who looked like that. Great move.
One thing is for sure, and that is Strait Jacket is indeed pretty. There's some good attention to detail in the backgrounds concerning landscapes, and the camera work was pretty good. The animation is not as good as some fans are selling it though, but the 2D effects are very crisp with some really nice character designs of the mecha-like Mold units. There was also a few cool monster designs as well.
The demons do their fair share of slice and dice in nice detail, and they just so happen to provide the best action scenes. Sadly, the battles between them and the Mold were very boring to me. Yes, they did look nice with the pretty energy blasts that were made up of vibrant colors, but the lack of movement in a majority of the scenes, and overall poor choreography did nothing for me. I thought the soundtrack was good with a nice song at a few points, and I really didn't have a problem with the dub or sub; but I will point out Steven Blum's talents as a competent voice actor were wasted as Leiot. He completely lacked any type of range, which was obviously due to the stereotypical and bland character he was forced to handle.
Overall, this anime didn't impress me at all. I feel Strait Jacket will more than likely appeal to the very easy to please who love everything anime. After binging on so many action anime with far better fight scenes than this, I just can't recommend this to anyone serious about their anime. There are far better action titles out there to choose from.
In the early-mid 2000s, US licensing companies were involved in numerous anime Production Committees. It didn't go so well for them. This year, several US licensors are trying their luck on Production Committees again. Will it go better this time?