A team of US military assassins track a terrorist in this ideas-heavy, character-light Japanese anime
So many nations are being torn apart by brutal civil conflict in this dystopian anime shoot-’em-up that Washington has a special covert hit squad to take out rogue governments who are slaughtering their own people. This is the 2020s, and the source of mayhem turns out to be a US-born agent provocateur who has discovered secret codes within language itself that reawaken humankind’s instinctive urge to kill.
That’s just one of the arresting ideas in this adaptation of a novel by Japanese sci-fi writer Project Itoh, who died in 2009 aged 34. ‘Genocidal Organ’ also features a ruthless combat crew supplied with emotion-suppressing medication so they’re not traumatised by their bloody frontline experiences – clearly a dig at the First World’s switched-off attitude to suffering in far-off places.
Yet the film is let down by thin characterisation, struggling to generate much empathy with its square-jawed, tough-yet-troubled special-forces warrior heroes. Still, there’s a lot to like here: impressive design, gleaming hardware, and the deliberate irony that a movie which so often looks like a first-person shooter video game actually has a strong message about the corrosive effects of becoming desensitised to violence.