Humanity just never learns, do we? Strait Jacket is a 2007 anime set in a world where mankind has discovered magic. Using this new power, mankind enjoyed a technological boom Now magic is used for anything and everything. Just 1 problem, though. Using magic apparently drives you mad and warps your body into hellish forms. Oops.
Despite this being well-known, humanity is now too dependent on magic to just stop using it. So instead everybody just carries on, casually aware that any person could randomly turn into a body horror monstrosity that wants to murder them.
Strait Jacket is mainly told from the perspective of Nerin. A junior officer of a bureau that administrates all things magical. This includes dealing with any rampaging monsters, for which she has access to the so-called Tactical Sorcerers. Essentially power-armored magic users that specialize in counteracting these monsters. On one such job, Nerin meets the illegal tactical sorcerer Steinberg. A loose cannon who gets results, but has 0 concern for collateral damage. Even when that damage could well be people.
It’s mostly an action anime that plays around with the suggestion of ethics and philosophy. The premise of a world that has grown to accept a horrifying consequence in return for convenience is very interesting, but it doesn’t get explored very much. Perhaps because this is a 3-episode adaptation of a novel series that count 11 books. Perhaps because the competence or intent simply wasn’t there. Instead, Strait Jacket is mostly concerned with body horror and blowing up monsters.
It has the gore and explosive action for sure, but is strangely never managed to be particularly gripping. I concede that it’s competently put together, that’s certainly not the issue here. It just lacks a bite, be it animation-wise or in its story, to really draw you in. As such, I mostly watched through Strait Jacket with a bemused disinterest. The same level of investment you’d afford to a random, cheesy action movie that nobody has ever heard about. It kills the time and is fun enough in the moment, but I’ll likely never think about it against after this review goes live.