For my first ever Seasonal Anime Watching series, Kemono Jihen was one of the animes I chose to watch. I was really interested in its premise and the first episode left a really good impression on me.
Unfortunately, my desire to watch this anime diminished as time went on.
What went wrong?
Kohachi Inugami, a detective who specializes in the occult, arrives at a remote village in the Japanese countryside, tasked by a hostess at a local inn to investigate a string of incidents involving rotting and mutilated livestock corpses that have been appearing for seemingly no reason. While surveying, Inugami notices a peculiar young boy working in the fields. Evaded by his peers and called “Dorotabou” for his stench, the young farmhand is surprised that anybody would take an interest in him.
Inugami, piqued with curiosity, enlists Dorotabou in helping him with the investigation, despite scorned looks from the villagers. Unbeknownst to Dorotabou, this investigation will reveal a strange new world to him—one of the beast-like entities known as Kemono existing in tandem with humans—along with breathing new purpose into his previously empty life. (MAL)
Kemono Jihen was good, not too bad. I mean, I had fun watching it.
From its premise to its characters, it has the potential to be one of the best animes this season.
But it’s not.
Other than the fact that there are other animes that were amazing *ehem* AoT *ehem*, Kemono Jihen missed the mark by having inconsistent interesting arcs.
The overall story of Kemono Jihen is quite simple. It’s about a kid, Kabane, who doesn’t know what emotions are and is an orphan, got a chance to live a second life with a detective, Inugami, who promised the kid to find his parents. Along the way, Kabane gets warp into the world of the Kemonos.
See? It’s quite interesting.
However, this premise wasn’t enough.
Yes, overall, the world of Kemono Jihen is vast and very intriguing. In each episode, we got a bit more and more information about the world and how the Kemono’s live along with the humans. The info dump wasn’t force and it also makes the viewers think, and I really like that.
This anime also dived into more of the Japanese myths which I personally enjoy learning. In each episode, we get to meet a new demon/monster that had history and myths behind them. Not only it got me excited to learn more about them, but it also made me understand their side and their existence.
The problems of this anime pretty much revolve around the arcs of the anime. I am not really familiar of the source material, the manga, so I can’t really say if they followed it properly or not. All I could say that the arcs in the anime are very inconsistent in terms of giving the viewers enough enjoyment to push them to look forward to next week’s episode.
Maybe, it is a factor that I am watching this weekly rather than binging, as I am more of a binger and not a weekly watch. But still, each episode should have captured my attention to keep me interested.
Even though the arcs were quite inconsistent, in my opinion, I do wanna commend the pacing of this anime. The writers didn’t push the arcs to finish every episode, but instead, take time on the important ones. I really like that. It gave the characters more room to grow and developed. Also, it added more impact to the viewers. I mean, having really good cliffhangers help a lot in getting the attention of the viewers and they were able to achieve that on some episodes.
Moving on, let’s talk about the characters.
I really like all of them. Interestingly, I don’t have a favorite. Yes, each one of them was unique and interesting in its own way, but no one was able to capture my heart.
Kabane, the main protagonist, was quite funny for a person who was emotionless. I guess his lack of emotions and the inability to read the room does make really good jokes out of it. However, his inability to feel things tend to be his weakness in standing out all throughout the episode. Yes, he does shine when he’s the focus, but when he is part of the group, he tends to be overshadowed by the others.
Speaking of others, the lead characters of this anime were Shiki, Akira, and Inugami.
Shiki and Akira were really good characters. Not only their personalities complement well with Kabane’s, but each of them also got enough growth (even more that Kabane) for us to love them as characters. At first, I really thought Shiki would be like the Sasuke/Bakugo of this anime, but good thing, he wasn’t. He was more than that. Akira, on the other hand, he’s reliable and quite a handful. He’s the type of trope in anime that I am not a fan of. But with his personality and his interactions with everyone, I eventually like and accept him. As I said, both got some arcs to focus on them. By far, my favorite would be Shiki’s. From him overcoming his trauma to being able to find his family, his story was a joy to watch. Akira had a good development too, but its impact wasn’t as strong as Shiki’s to me.
Now for Inugami, he is quite interesting. Unlike the other leads, Inugami was the least featured and the most undeveloped. We didn’t learn much about him as he tends to just let the kids do the work while he stays back and observes. I do understand why the original creator did this so that we could see more of the other characters, but Inugami’s lack of growth made him really forgettable.
I hope, if ever there is a 2nd season, both Kabane and Inugami’s arcs will be tackled. I mean, it is quite clear at the end of the last episode that the next arc will focus more now on Kabane, which is a shame cuz it was the end of the anime.
If I have time, I might check out the manga instead.
I’m not yet done with the characters. Lol.
The other notable characters that were introduced here were Mihai, Kon, Inari, & Nobimaru.
Mihai was the most fun and mysterious one. He’s a neet vampire and he likes to play around. At the arc where he was introduced, we got to see him do his manipulation and amusing antics to the gang. Unfortunately, he wasn’t featured as much as I want him to in the next episodes. Such a shame.
Kon was a weird one. I wanted to like her, especially after seeing her in the OP, but so far, she’s really bland. Yeah, she and Kabane are cute and all, but after a few episodes, she was put in the backseat of the story which is a bummer. The same as Kabane and Inugami, it was hinted at the end that Kon will be joining the two. That definitely means we could have seen more of Kon, and maybe some development from her. Such a waste.
Inari is definitely an antagonist. Because of the nature of the series, she’s more of a recurring enemy that sometimes helps the gang. I was shocked at how so early we got to know her motives as to why she does what she does. It made me understand her decisions and actions a bit more.
Now for Nobimaru, he is another mysterious being. It seemed he’s the same as Kon, in terms of what kind of Kemono he was. His friendship with Kabane is quite peculiar. It was quite clear from the get-go that he is on Inari’s side, but at the same time, he hates her. He seemed to be also genuine to Kabane, which made their dynamic more interesting. To be honest, his addition definitely made the 2nd half of the anime more enjoyable.
Now for the animation.
I really like the art and animation. The color scheme wasn’t boring in the eyes and it wasn’t that bright too. It fits well with the tone of the anime. I really like the character designs. Yes, they look generic, but each character had a unique design that suits them very well. The animation was not too bad. It was smooth when it needs to and flowy enough for me to enjoy. The fight scenes were okay. There was not much of it, but those scenes delivered what needs to be delivered.
Overall, this anime wasn’t too bad, but because of its faults, it wasn’t too good either. It would have been better if this anime would get a second season so that we can see more of Kabane and maybe, get a closure to this series. The potential is already there, it just needs more time to grow.
That’s why I will still recommend this to people. You can watch this too on Muse Asia on Youtube. This series is still fun to watch so I do hope you guys will also enjoy it.