Strait Jacket Ichiro Sakaki

Strait Jacket Ichiro Sakaki
Originally designed as a three-episode Japanese anime, the English-dubbed feature-length Strait Jacket is heavy on exposition and circular subtext but light on the characterizations behind broad motivating factors. It clips along at lightning speed, featuring many intense battle scenes and creative slaughters, which keep the visceral nature at the forefront for those less interested in ruminations on the nature of terrorism, corporations and vengeance. The story is set within a world where magic is used for fundamental creature comforts but is bound by the fear of overuse, which will turn users into irrational demons. In order to fight said demons, combat personnel referred to as "tactical sorcerers” do battle using the very magic that original created the harm. In order to stave off the negative effects that magic has on the user, "molds” have been created — suits of armour that protect the sorcerers. Two heroic figures are at the forefront of Strait Jacket, suffering from different inner-demons and fighting for different reasons. Isaac Hammond is a certified and registered tactical sorcerer who fights demons while searching for the man who killed his childhood saviour. His vengeful nature ultimately leads to his downfall when he discovers greed and corruption within the legal system and finds the man he’s been looking for. This man is Rayotte Steinberg, who himself is an unauthorized, renegade tactical sorcerer with more radical methods. His dodgy past leaves him seeking redemption in a world peppered with sin and corruption. Examinations of the grey area between perpetrator and protector are certainly interesting and handled with a great deal of insight for an animated film. The dualistic nature of the human spirit leaves a delicate balance between a man’s tendency to do perceived "good” or "evil,” which itself is based on experientially constructed belief systems and understandings. Had more groundwork been laid for these heroic stereotypes to work within, these insights could have been delivered with more profundity and less condescension, however, the film is entertaining regardless and should please fans of the genre. (Anchor Bay)