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.

18 Responses

  1. Avatar karry says:

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

  2. Avatar reverse says:

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

    • Avatar Shysassy Girl says:

      I was at the same ep today as I was binge-watching the series. Dropped it there and searched up the ending. Didn’t miss much.

  3. Avatar 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. Avatar Goral says:

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

  6. Avatar 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.

    • Avatar Shysassy Girl says:

      This is a masterpiece for those who didn’t expect real politics from this show. I was recommended this saying it is similar to The Twelve Kingdoms. I was also told the art is childish but the story is a gem. And I was actually deeply moved at the scene when her mother died (even though it was predictable). I liked this show till she went to the academy. I was impressed with erin up to the point till she was with John (or Jone?). Then it slowly went downhill. But the politics shown was laughable, especially the real story about Je.
      Conclusion, this is masterpiece only for those who don’t use their brains at a higher political level, or this is mediocre.
      PS- But gotta admit, erin’s development was very realistic.

  7. Avatar 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. Avatar Alec says:

    *fairytale

    sry 4 another post

  9. Avatar bluedew says:

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

  10. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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.

  16. Avatar Shysassy Girl says:

    Ah, I guess I expected Erin to become a traveler when there was a choice to make as she and Jone separated. She could have observed beast lords in the wild. Maybe join the Mist People? She could have learnt about all sorts of herbs and animals; got information which wasn’t available at the academy partly due to some imperatives and misunderstandings. I kind of got the feeling that she didn’t like being tied down by codes, and liked doing things her way – which, let’s be honest, isn’t always possible in a realistic society. She always somehow managed due to her strong luck and personality.
    I also felt at the start of the show that Soyon regretted being in a settled life. Settled life indicates the Ake village. I don’t mean she didn’t love her husband, she did. But she would’ve liked seeing the beasts in the wild and not in human care. It was never made clear that even if erin’s wish was fulfilled ie they stopped using beasts in war, what would happen to the kingdom? Won’t it crumble? It isn’t possible to prepare an army in that short time.
    So, people bear with the childish art and slow pace, use your brain but don’t have high expectations and you’ll like this show with its fine characters.

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