SK8 and Kemono Jihen were the two anime I was most looking forward to this season. SK8 for obvious reasons and Kemono Jihen‘s tone seemed right up my alley.
Here’s the plot to Kemono Jihen according to MyAnimeList:
When a series of animal bodies that rot away after a single night begin appearing in a remote mountain village, Inugami, a detective from Tokyo who specializes in the occult, is called to investigate.
While working the case, he befriends a strange boy who works in the field every day instead of going to school. Shunned by his peers and nicknamed “Dorota-bou” after a yokai that lives in the mud, he helps Inugami uncover the truth behind the killings—but supernatural forces are at work, and while Dorota-bou is just a nickname, it might not be the only thing about the boy that isn’t human.
The story starts out with a group of boys gossiping about the visiting man from Tokyo. The leader of the group, Yataro, is the center of attention since his friends believe that the Tokyo man is here to recruit him.
Yataro’s mom picks up the Tokyo man, Inugami, who sticks out like a sore thumb with his bushel of blonde hair and bright yellow vest. His sunglasses threw me off since he puts them over his bangs, but luckily he takes them off later.
Inugami sees Kabane, otherwise known as Dorotabo by the villagers, working in the field. Yataro later explains to Inugami how Kabane is an outcast in the village because of his stench.
Inugami, intrigued by Kabane, requests to have Kabane attend to him rather than Yataro. Since Kabane works the fields daily, Inugami questions him about the recent attacks on the farm animals, which is what Yataro’s mom hired him to fix. Kabane’s information proves useful for Inugami.
Now greatly offended that the Tokyo man picked his cousin over him, Yataro decides to confront Kabane. He grabs Kabane’s necklace, which he has had since birth, and exclaims how Kabane doesn’t deserve the necklace. The two get into a fight and Yataro rips off Kabane’s necklace.
Kabane suddenly transforms into a monster, with half of his body turning the color of oxidized blood and his arm growing to be longer than his entire body. Distraught, Kabane quickly grabs his necklace and hides, believing that he’s the culprit attacking the farm animals.
At this point, the anime isn’t shy of showing graphic images. Not only do they show dead farm animals and half eaten dogs, they show Kabane’s unruly transformation. Inugami does at one point show Kabane his tail, which involves him showing Kabane his butt, but it seems that the anime will get graphic in the future.
Kabane also isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He doesn’t hesitate to shove his fist into a demon deer’s mouth and easily snaps a demon dog’s head. This lack of reaction must be due to Kabane’s demon blood, but I found his attitude refreshing. There are many anime whose protagonists tremble with fear when exposed to the supernatural for the first time. While this is really a natural reaction for any human being, this revelation can get repetitive and boring.
Kabane seems like the type to not care very much for his well-being since he doesn’t hesitate to ask Inugami to kill him. His lack of general emotions are also indicative of his low attachment to life. I’m hoping that future episodes will show Kabane controlling his demon powers as well as him opening up to the cast.
This first episode had a great first impression for me. The tone throughout the episode was very dark, especially with its soft background music and muted color scheme. I’m definitely looking forward to watching more episodes in the coming weeks.
What are your thoughts on Kemono Jihen? Is it a hit or a miss?
Gabriella is a 21-year-old writer and artist from Texas and currently goes to university in New York. Her favorite anime shows include Mob Psycho 100, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, and Kill la Kill. In her free time, Gabriella likes to watch anime, read manga, and play the newest games on her Nintendo Switch.
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