The war on terror exploded, literally, the day Sarajevo was destroyed by a homemade nuclear device. The leading democracies transformed into total surveillance states, and the developing world has drowned under a wave of genocides. The mysterious American John Paul seems to be behind the collapse of the world system, and it's up to intelligence agent Clavis Shepherd to track John Paul across the wreckage of civilizations and to find the true heart of darkness—a genocidal organ.
Gyakusatsu Kikan was originally in production by studio Manglobe and was intended to be released on November 13, 2015. However the studio filed for bankruptcy on September 29, 2015 and production was handed over to Geno Studio. The film was reported to have been 60% complete by Manglobe before their production ended, however producer Kouji Yamamoto stated it had really been 20% complete.
*I'm not basing this review on the source material for this story, the change in the production studio, or anything other than the story standing alone on it's own*
Overall this movie is very enjoyable, with great fluid animation, appealing character design, and an overall compelling story.
The story is this movie's strongest and weakest point. The concept is great and extremely thought provoking, and it often makes allusions to other works and ideas which I loved. The world this movie is set in is very well built and established. The characters are often traveling and moving around and there are some complex political conflicts between
and within nations and groups, which is presented in a way that isn't so complicated that the viewer gets lost. Very well done in that aspect.
We travel through the plot from the perspective of the main character and with him we come to understand human nature in the context of responsibility and freedom. The stance the movie takes on this subject doesn't interest me as much as how the movie simply brings this idea to the table for discussion. That was one of the aspects of the movie that bothered me, I just wish it went full out on the unfolding of the story and the conflict between the characters and the conflict within the characters instead of spending time making their personal commentary on the subjects. Another criticism I have is that there are some plot discontinuities and the actual concept of the "genocidal organ" seems pretty baseless and kinda boring, not that I'm a psychologist or anything. But these criticisms aren't too significant in light of how happy I am with what this movie did right with the main theme of how freedom comes with responsibility that you have to be willing to bear.
I highly enjoyed the characters from their designs to their personalities and struggles. They have flaws, make discoveries throughout the story, and have genuine thoughts and reactions. Their personalities are probably the weakest part because the story focuses on how the characters are relevant in the plot, although there are a few scenes that feature the characters in an everyday normal situation, and those scenes were great for their characterization, I just wish there was just a little bit more of that. All of the relevant characters are memorable, but there are some minor characters that serve as plot facilitators who are not expanded upon, and most of these characters work perfectly fine in the story, only one or two of them I wish were expanded upon a little bit more.
As far as sound goes, they took a relatively minimalist approach to it, not having any outstanding standalone tracks, but simply having tracks that enhanced the scenes without making me wish for more. Overall I had no problem with the sound.
The visuals were almost outstanding including composition, animation quality, color scheme, and design. The only issue I have is that there are a few short shots here and there where the animation isn't as good as the rest of the movie, and are pretty jarring relative to the rest of the visuals. But besides that, the quality is great, and the fight/action scenes are composed and executed extremely well, making the action easy to follow and visually appealing, not to mention that these scenes have substance and meaning that relates to the story and themes, they are not just hollow and visually appealing for the sake of cool fight scenes.
I am a little biased towards this movie because I think the themes of freedom and responsibility as well as the topic of terrorism are relevant in our current world, so I would personally give it a 9/10. However, from a more objective viewpoint I'd say that this movie deserves an 8/10. It's a great movie that is entertaining and thought provoking, I definitely recommend it.
*Edited as of Dec 1, 2017 with the purpose in making a few of my points more specific and avoiding misinterpretation of my opinions due to being too vague, my original review is still available if anyone wants to refer back to it*
What a piece of crap. Even Project Itoh's critically acclaimed novel wasn't perfect, but at least it delivered a semirealistic futuristic world with all its pros and cons of surveillance, nanomechanical warfare, etc. But this adaption is a failure in every aspect - whether or not you look at the trouble it went through during its production.
Genocidal Organ fails to deliver a coherent storyline (and makes all the wrong choices through the way). It fails to replicate the detailed world building, Itoh is so well known for (compare with Harmony i.e.). It just scratches on the surface of the complex thoughts, this topic offers. The
animation is a pain in the ass (it doesn't matter if Manglobe went bankrupt during the process, you pretty much can see were they had their hands on - the quality differs from the bullshit of the so called 'animation' studio Geno made), as well as the character design. There are tons of cheaper shows, that look so much better than this useless piece of junk. And it is not just because of the american characters, it didn't look good at all. Thanks to the crappy animation and production. There were plenty of scenes looking clumsy and awkard, were you couldn't tell that this is a movie from 2017.
Let alone the characters themselves without any personality... except for antagonist John Paul. Unfortunately, his shiny moments were too rare. Just like the nanomechanical warfare and surveillance systems, that helped build a world like only Itoh could have thought of. There were enough scenes showing how practical it can be, but little to less behind that facade. Which is a shame, especially regarding the way how it could have turned out, if the adaption followed its source material more truthfully AND considering the possibilities of anime.
I don't want to compare with the original novel that much, but this adaption lacks of a fluent and reasonable story. Most of the plotpoints doesn't seem to be connected at all; they are more like various stations, which the story needed to pass for its clumsy conclusion.
The only positive thing in here is the cruelty of war shown: childsoldiers vs modern warfare. In all its glory. There's no time to trivialize such things and that's the only strength, this movie shows. Unfortunately, these scenes are kept just like the whole essence behind the thematic: Shallow and irrelevant for the story or the plot, because Genocidal Organ doesn't give much about the complex nihilistic philosophy behind its pristine storytelling. What is freedom worth? Do you pay it from personal freedom or other countries, which can't keep up with the modern world of capitalism?
While my final rating for the show comes out to a four, I also note that this is because I am extremely forgiving if a show or movie can at least deliver on a decent concept that makes me think for a few moments. Someone less easily swayed will almost certainly view this in a worse light.
Everything besides the premise is a train wreck. The animation bounces between being generic and looking like some of the more clumsy CGI that I have seen outside of a Syfy original. The actual storyline itself is clearly adapted from something that had more time to flesh out motives
and a world. If it weren't for the macguffin that was "language of genocide" then you would at least be left with a passable near future science fiction story about the dangers of complacency and trading freedoms for security, both themes that were hinted at throughout the movie.
Instead, you have a story that hops between destinations, has seemingly random time jumps, dry characters with nonexistent or nonsensical motives, and a plot that just kind of leaves you scratching your head at the end. It's clear that someone cared about these issues that do have real world consequences, but this wasn't the team to communicate them to the rest of the world.
Genocidal Organ is a political thriller film focused on an American special forces officer named Kravitz Shephard who is tasked with trying to apprehend a terrorist named John Paul who is responsible for a series of conflicts and genocides being triggered throughout the world. As Kravitz digs further into the mysteries surrounding John, he finds that the world he assumed to be one where American actions seem just are in reality a fabrication due to mass psychological manipulation from the various world governments to have the populace conform to accepting a new world order where their thoughts and actions are monitored and manipulated.
Genocidal Organ serves
as a criticism of post-9/11 times with a number of first world countries turning into surveillance states where citizen freedoms are no longer guaranteed as they are continually monitored, have their privacy compromised, and are continually manipulated by their government and corporate entities, America being quite the offender in this regard with their actions against foreign nations that are a threat to its global influence and passing laws like the Patriot Act that sacrifice citizen freedoms for the so-called War on Terrorism. This is explored through Kravitz's investigation into John Paul's activity as his search for John leads him into Bosnia, a third-world country effected by the recent string of terrorist attacks supposedly influenced by John. Within the world of Genocidal Organ, military soldiers are artificially enhanced into becoming super-soldiers to become more efficient at completing their missions yet at the expense of their humanity. This offers an interesting parallel to real-world events like the 2003 American invasion of Iraq where the American government manipulated its populace and military into believing military invasion of the country was justified due to the threat of nuclear weapons from the country, that were later discovered to have never existed.
The film offers a believable look at how the actions of a first world nation like America could negatively impact life for the citizens of a third world country like Bosnia. John comes to learn of terrorist cells forming in the country that are opposed to the presence and influence of foreign nations on their country's affairs, as well as being considered an unwelcome presence within the country. Again, this creates parallels to real-life events as Iraqi reception of American military presence in their country was largely opposed, a shocking reality for American soldiers who assumed that they would be welcomed in the country as heroes for their actions in overthrowing dictator Saddam Hussein.
Besides the global effect that surveillance states have on other countries, Genocidal Organ also offers a solid exploration of the psychological effects that they would have on its citizens. This can be explored in some of the movie's more casual scenes as Kravitz casually interacts with his fellow soldiers during downtime at places like a tavern that show how desensitized they have become to the violent acts committed in various countries throughout the world. The issue is also addressed during military missions when Kravitz and his comrades casually banter on how drugged child soldiers they gun down are no different from them in how they are mentally conditioned in their actions, showing the detachment they have toward the horrific acts that these children have experienced. Again, this runs parallel to real world circumstances with manipulative tactics like materialistic excesses, information manipulation, and media sensationalism used by corporate entities and government officials to distract American citizens from the reality of their actions effecting foreign nations and having the citizens become desensitized or developing indifference toward the suffering of others due to being more concerned about the needs of themselves or others around them.
While the film offers a solid exploration of its plot and themes, one major thing it struggles with is creating solid and relatable characterization. Characters come off not feeling like real people at many points and instead feel more like shells used by the developers of the film to reflect on its themes through long dialogues. The film appeared to attempt creating some sort of relationship between Kravitz and a Slav tutor named Lucia, though this came off as feeling unconvincing and feeling like a forced attempt at exploring the film's themes. Also, the motives that John Paul had for driving his terrorist acts came off feeling a bit absurd in their implementation and the film ends in a rather anti-climactic matter in resolving how things end up with both John and Kravitz.
In terms of presentation, Genocidal Organ is easily among the best animated of the three Project Itoh films thanks to its use of more lifelike and realistic settings and character designs. With the more realistic setting, scenery designs are believably depicted and characters are drawn with more realistic bodily details and proportions compared to many modern anime titles. There is a great deal of fluid movement depicted throughout the film, especially during action sequences when Kravitz and American soldiers are engaging terrorist hideouts during their missions. The soundtrack consists of typical orchestral scores that don't particularly stick out, but are effective at conveying the right mood during Genocidal Organ's more dramatic and poignant scenes.
In spite of its issues with characters and its ending, Genocidal Organ is still a mostly solid political thriller that strikes parallels to real world events in exploring the effects that surveillance states like America have on other countries in a post-9/11 world through Kravitz's mission to apprehend John Paul. In spite of its flaws, I would still recommend older audiences to at least check out the film once.
Anime is a form of entertainment usually marketed towards an otaku fanbase, making it difficult for people unfamiliar with that culture to step in. The noitaminA programming block was created to serve as a gateway to that audience. But how well have they kept their promise throughout the years?