Strait Jacket (2007)

Strait Jacket

Strait Jacket

According to STRAIT JACKET, the science behind magic was discovered in the late 19th century, and the techniques used to harness this power — essentially bundling oneself into battle-armor-type channeling devices called “molds” — have made the world a wonderful place.

Kinda.

Sorta.

Well, every now and then, magic becomes the microwave to the human body’s Orville Redenbacher popcorn, and any flaw in the suit allows the flesh to come boiling out in a mass of undulating, gibbering, homicidal fury. Then you’ve got to call on the services of a supernatural-weapon-wielding “tactical sorcerist” (it’s not noted whether “scientors” also occupy this universe) to blast the demon away. And if the resulting fiends are too badass for the state-sponsored troops, then your only hope is someone like the stoic, loose-cannon, free-agent sorcerist Leiot Steinberg and Kapelteta, his young, four-eyed ward. (No, she doesn’t wear glasses — she’s got four eyes. Four. Creepy. Red. Eyes.)

STRAIT JACKET doesn’t have quite the bracing cleverness of creator Ichiro Sakaki’s SCRAPPED PRINCESS, but the setting — it’s either the mid-twentieth century or a present-day where technology hasn’t had to advance beyond that time period (either way, it allows the producers to conveniently forgo a certain, world-spanning conflict) — gives the film some visual tang. Meanwhile, there’s a LETHAL WEAPON dynamic between Steinberg and his protégé that provides both characters with some emotional heft. The thing plays less like a full-blown feature than a three-episode story arc (which it obviously is), but between the clever concept, the nicely rendered settings, the well-choreographed action sequences, and demons that allow the character designers to once again place faces in places where faces shouldn’t be (always a flesh-crawling delight), this debut outing leaves one primed for future installments.

Strait Jacket (Manga, 2007; 76 mins.) Directed by Shinji Ushiro. Voice Cast: Steve Blum, Lara Jill Miller, Bridget Hoffman, Crispin Freeman, Kari Wahlgren.

About the Author

Dan Persons

DAN PERSONS is a New York-based writer who first got bit by the Cinefantastique bug when he encountered the 1979 double issue devoted to the sci-fi classic FORBIDDEN PLANET. He contributed for many years to the magazine, first as a correspondent, then as an editor.

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