Posted by psgels on 26 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kemono no Souja Erin



I’ve said this plenty of times now, but my biggest problem with anime at the moment is its “we’ll animate the second season only when the sales are good”-tendency. That’s why it’s good to see that there are still series that take risks and plan a full 50-episode course and plan in the full story that they want to tell. Kemono no Souja Erin is a slow-paced series, but because of its length it can show things that would not have been possible within 26 episodes.

What makes this series unique is its huge focus on taking care of wild animals. Erin starts as a little girl, but as she grows up you can see how her fascination with these wild beasts grows and develops, until she actually ends up taking care of them for real. This is done with a real attention to detail, and it’s really focused on Erin thinking outside of the box to find out the best ways to take care of these animals (in her case, Beast Kings, a huge kind of fictional dog-bird). Erin, and the trouble she has raising these animals are really one of a kind, and really the reason why you want to watch this series.

Aside this, the series also spends quite a bit of time on politics, but these just aren’t as good by comparison. The country’s background is a bit one-sided and just not as interesting as Erin and the challenges she faces trying to raise Lilan, the main beast of this series. On top of that, as the politics take over the show near the end, they end the series with a really cheesy, cliched and sloppy ending.

The animation is also a bit of a mixed bag. The art itself is beautiful: the backgrounds are very original, and whenever a beast is about to attack someone, it gets all surreal, as to symbolize the chaos that’s going on in the mind of both the attacker and attacked. This would have been a great series to look at if it wasn’t for the constant use of flashbacks, recycled frames, and even entire recycled scenes. Normally I’m don’t often notice this, but this series really takes it a bit too far.

Nevertheless, this is one of those shows that puts nearly 50 episodes into the development of its lead character. Erin really stands out as a memorable character, and her growth from just a small child into adulthood is very detailed, making her into one of the best developed characters of the year. The side-cast also all have their own moments to shine. It’s a shame that there are a number of weaker episodes, but the good ones really make up for it.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Slow but very solid and imaginative. No cheese aside from the final episode.
Characters: 9/10 – Erin is an exceptionally well developed character.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Great art, both foreground and background. Solid animation but too many recycled frames.
Setting: 9/10 – Lots of depth on taking care of beasts and wild ainmals. Solid albeit one-sided view of the country the show is set in.

15 Responses

  1. karry says:

    See ? Just as i said, you can always count on psgels to give anything 85/100.

  2. reverse says:

    I shouldn’t even read this, I still watching it. episode 32 so far, any suggestion which episode should I end this

  3. andrea says:

    So the end sucks? I was planning on marathoning the whole series (I’m at ep 10) but now I’m not sure about it.

  4. psgels psgels says:

    Nah, don’t let the end disencourage you. The parts around Erin are till very good.

  5. Goral says:

    You didn’t understand the ending at all psgels. Read this: http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?p=2839666#post2839666

  6. Goral says:

    This series is great, as is it’s ending. A rare masterpiece but that can be ascertained only by people that use their brains during watching the show. So if you want fanservice, loli, moe or crap like this don’t watch KnSE. And if anyone is interested to watch this series then I suggest that you endure it to 7th episodes at least or even better first time skip. Otherwise you won’t even know what you’re losing.

  7. Alec says:

    @ reverse

    the part where Lilan finally flies (since ur in ep 32, i guess u already saw that) … or maybe the the episode where Lilan breeds… or perhaps end it at episode 46, where a big character development happened, after that u can just imagine that they lived happily ever after xD……

    @ goral… its the anime were talkin bout… 4 people who doesnt read erin..that ending is only going giving them a bad aftertaste…. and even if she has a child (like what it says on that forum), its not much a big deal…the Fact there She had a child in the timeskip is bcoz of the Fairytail like event that happend in THAT SNOWY SEASON.

  8. Alec says:

    *fairytale

    sry 4 another post

  9. bluedew says:

    i loved the show. guess I sorta grew up with Erin. I guess i should go buy the books to read!

  10. tk007 says:

    Don’t be shy away by psgels’s review of the ending. I think his expectations were a bit too high after all the build up episodes. I don’t think the ending is really as bad as he said.

    I would say most of the events (except the Damya part) that happened in the last episode are there for a reason.

    And what’s wrong with a fairytale ending in a series for children?

  11. farthammer says:

    Story = 7/10
    Directing = 4/10
    Character Development = 7/10
    Editing = 3/10
    Animation = 8/10
    Voice Acting = 9/10

    While it is an original story with pleasing artwork (the background reminded me of stain glass windows), it is also very long-winded, over-narrated and annoyingly self-reviewing. At least 1/3rd of this production (maybe more) is past footage replayed again and again to the point of nausea. Many scenes simply linger too long on the screen. I found that my finger remained poised over the time-advance button throughout all 50 episodes.

    The story, while likeable, is produced & directed in a bland style. The comic relief characters mostly fail in their mission and are often annoying or awkward. The climax scenes are consistently and inappropriately violated by the opening theme song (complete with subtitles) marching in like Bozo-the-Clown at a funeral.

    For me, the visual aspect of animation provides a large part of my enjoyment factor. Any anime that avoids the bush-baby-eyed micro-mouthed syndrome, MECHA-SHAZAM-TRANSFORM gimmicks and looping graphics shortcuts that plague mainstream anime automatically receives my attention and respect. The visual aspect of Kemono no Souja Erin does receives high marks from me and is the main reason I lasted through all 50 eps.

    The soundtrack is decent. I especially like the ending song, which was unfortunately replaced after ep 24.

    SPOILER ALERT!!!

    Kemono no Souja Erin begins as a gentle story of a wide-eyed nature-loving child (Erin) and her relationship with her loving mother, who is the center of Erin’s world. It is animated in a sunny pastel style and appears, at first, to be directed toward small children. This is reinforced by the narrator over-explaining, in the simplest of terms, every single plot development and emotion that Erin experiences, but in the 4th or 5th episode Erin has a front row seat to her mother’s execution wherein Erin repeatedly screams out while her mother is brutally mauled to death (albeit bloodless) by giant man-eating lizards in a long and drawn out scene (opening theme song included). Erin repeatedly relives this traumatic event in detail throughout the remaining episodes. All I could think about while watching this scene was that small kids are going to be watching this. Following the mauling, in the next episode, the only antidote that they offer to sooth the viewer’s trauma is an awkwardly presented farting beekeeper who has a sexual attraction for his horse and an Erin that recovers faster then I did.

    END SPOILER ALERT.

    I advise any parent to preview the first 5 eps before allowing young children to watch this show.

  12. Akari says:

    at first glance, i thought this anime kind of different… not only the art but the story itself is also unique. A fairytale for children but me myself very enjoying this anime. imaginative and innovative, i’m glad that i can find someone who like this anime.. (ps: the ending song is my favorite now) ^^

  13. Zoberraz says:

    I’d like to thank you for blogging this series – it allowed me to discover and experience it.

    Overall, I really enjoyed it. I was a little anxious over the ending with what your review outlined… but I found it fairly to my liking. Then again, I’m usually pretty easy to please. I do agree that all the points you’ve made were good ones that might have made for an even better finale, but I was still pleased with what I got.

    The only real flaw I can find with the series is the production value. If this one would have got the same treatment Seirei no Moribito got, I probably could recommend it to my more spoiled, picky friends. But with the background art, recycled shots and the stylized (and simplistic) action shots I’m hard pressed to credibly recommend the investment of watching it to my circle of friends.

  14. Jason says:

    I agree whole heartedly with Goral, this anime is a work of pure genius, and most people would never know what they are missing unless they watch it past episode 7. I agree with psgels though, the anime assumes the current state of the (anime’s)world is inherently corrupt and is seen from few perspectives. I really enjoyed the symbolic/metaphoric implications that this anime presents to viewers and the constant conflicts of idealist’s (Erin, Jone,etc.) and realists (the greedy prince, the grand dukes children, etc.)Since my entire life focuses on politics I guess I am slightly biased in saying that although the “first ending” commands the audience to believe a very rediculous scenario, I was enamored by the author’s message.

  15. CC says:

    I know its been a while since you blogged this, but I have a question. Who did Erin marry? they never showed!
    I agree, the ending with the soldiers and Erin almost dying werent too great, but that last bit man! who did she marry. they showed the kid but not the guy. I was waiting to see who she’d end up with. Sezan Ial or the guy back at the school.
    if you know, please share! :S
    also, I agree that after her hand got bitten off, the episodes leading to episode 50 were just dragging it out. It couldve been done slightly differently.
    but all in all, I did like this anime! especially when she lived with Jone.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:31 AM)
    *this time
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:28 AM)
    @K-off: it wasn’t the most visually impressive episode anyways, so it’s alright is time.
  • k-off
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:19 AM)
    @Bam I know you’re going to point it out, so yes, I know the screenshots aren’t very good…But it was very difficult for me to find a decent clip that wasn’t a spoiler in this episode.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 06:42 AM)
    I’m shocked by the news that Jian Ghomeshi has been an evil rapist this entire time. I listened to his show for so long and he always seemed like such a teddy bear. Just shows that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 03:06 AM)
    Then Tougane looks down in a displeased manner and says: “two brainwave scanners would never work, what we need is to put a rubber ducky under the floormat and then if an intruder gets in they will step on it, alarming the cat. We then proceed to dissect the cat to check its body for any signs of stress hormone secretion which will show if someone was indeed there or not”. He then looks away with content and light up a cigarette.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:57 AM)
    Also the dominator is dominately stupid. After all that happened you don’t arm your men with some non-lethal back-up weapon or something? I get that they were trying to take the law out of human hands to avoid abuse, but in that case what is the point of human agency in the police? Have some droids patrol the streets with dominators then.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:54 AM)
    @K-off: yeah, “God if there only was a way we could actually see who’s sneaking into the chief inspector of police’s apartment. Any ideas Shion?”
    “How bout two brainwave scanners?”
    Nash
  • k-off
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:48 AM)
    @Bam In 1984,they had recorders hidden in the trees. Fucking trees, for crying out loud.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:41 AM)
    The biggest absurdity in Psycho Pass is the non-existence of security cameras in an authoritarian future. They have brainwave scanner at every goddamn corner for fuck sake!
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:34 AM)
    @Aidan: Seems I’ve also read shinigami ni saigo by him also, which unfortunately I fell behind on. =< But I remember liking it.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis- 04

By now, I have a general idea of where this story is going. Our characters finally face the main villains of the story and starting next episode, I reckon that we’ll get some real story progression because frankly, the past few episodes did almost nothing to get me to care much for the characters, no matter […]

Nanatsu no Taizai Episode 1-4

Sorry for not giving this a first impression but I felt that to do so at this point would be redundant. So Nanatsu no Taizai, or Seven Deadly Sins if you prefer. An anime that certainly does nothing new. Every ounce of which filled with standard shounen battle manga tropes. Yes this anime does nothing […]

Gugure! Kokkuri-San- 04

By now, I have a general idea of how the writers are going to go forward with this show. This show continues to jump the gun without setting up a clear voice for itself while pulling off some genuinely fun comedy, creating this weird combination that is somewhat off-putting yet fairly enticing. However, this episode […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 04

That’s it. I give up. I concede. I throw in the towel. I surrender. This is just a travesty, an unsalvageable mess. I have given this more patience than it deserves and it has rewarded me with tedium. The editing is schizophrenic and distracting. The dialogue and events passing by too fast for emotional impact. […]

Your Lie in April – 02 & 03

Your Lie in April has emerged as a bit of a nice surprise in this young season. The fairly popular noitaminA programming block has been pretty hit-and-miss of late, with some very good shows here and there but a much higher rate of complete duds compared to the block’s past. For this reason I approached […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 03

Well what can I say besides, I told you so. But even though I knew what was coming this is still remarkable. Not only is this episode excellent but it may in fact have topped it’s source material. It is at times like these that it is difficult to be both a Fate fan and […]

Akatsuki no Yona – 03

Hak and Yona flee Soo-Won’s men, but Yona’s mental and physical condition continue to deteriorate. Yona and Hak are both haunted by memories from the past. This was easily the best episode in the series so far. Whereas the first two episodes primarily took place in the present or the future, this episode is mostly spent in […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 03

This isn’t looking good. Let me explain, Grisaia has a somewhat nakige visual novel approach. Meaning that it has a comedic relatively plotless first half, followed by a tragic heroine backstory related story arc. Notable examples of this is any Key visual novel anime adaption you can think of. So for the first half we […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis- 03

Okay, so this episode didn’t focus on Leone and Amira’s adventure. Instead, it focuses on building Kaisar’s character and it does so a bit awkwardly. This episode takes Kaisar and puts him into an overly bombastic situation in order to tell us about Kaisar’s past family problems, but it was so out of tone from […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]