Posted by Lenlo on 27 December 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Inuyashiki

Do you know what the average age of an anime protagonist is? Neither do I, but I’d wager its in the upper teens. For obvious reasons, most anime focus on high school and have high school aged protagonists with similarly aged problems. Its not often that we get a good older main character, who has to deal with more adult issues such as MonsterGreat Teacher Onizuka and Rakugo. Well, this season we can add another to this list. Even with its faults, Inuyashiki‘s characters remain strong and worth watching just for them.

Lets jump in!

To start, a quick synopsis. Inuyashiki focuses on well, Inuyashiki, a middle aged salaryman who feels useless and unloved by his family. One night, he heads to the park where he and a young man named Hiro Shishigami end up in an extra terrestrial hit and run. To cover their tracks the aliens rebuild them as cyborgs! These new bodies destroy their sense of humanity, and in the ensuing weeks the two must rediscover what it means to be human! Watch as their ideals clash and Japan pays the price! Onto the review!

Animation/Art

For art and animation, Inuyashiki did commendably here. In terms of 2D animation, there isn’t much, as Inuyashiki used CGI for most movement heavy scenes. At times this CGI looked pretty good as it fit Hiro and Inuyashiki’s cyborg bodies well. All of the mechanical parts, with their complexity, could only ever be consistently modeled in CGI so it’s understandable why they used it. Where it falls short however are a number of the combat scenes. When flying around the city, the CGI falls to PS2 era fidelity, which is a shame.

For art and character designs however, Inuyashiki manages to stand tall. It might be because we see them mostly in CGI, but the detail and expressions of everyone in 2D look fantastic. You can usually tell what a character is thinking or feeling just by looking at their faces. In particular, Inuyashiki has mastered the “Ugly Cry” face. I don’t know why, but I love these. They are just so expressive. Overall, Inuyashiki’s visuals aren’t a standout of the season. They do what they need to do however and except for once near the end, don’t detract from the series.

Direction

In terms of direction, camera angles and the like, Inuyashiki did very well. Shots were framed well, clearly showing us what to focus on and what was happening. Some standout examples of this are most of last episode and with Inuyashiki’s first use of his cyborg weapons. Early scenes of Hiro, also managed to ramp up the tension and make a high-school child truly terrifying. each of these shots, and many more, are phenomenally done. All in all Inuyashiki’s direction did a standout job of framing the show and giving meaning to almost every scene. Well done MAPPA.

Story

Next up the story. Oh the story. This is where Inuyashiki stumbles. It starts off strong, with parallels and moral conflicts between our two leads. Then it manages to clearly establish who they are, why they do what they do, how they think. It manages to make Hiro the driving force of the story, using the consequences of his actions to escalate the conflict naturally. Really the first few episodes have some of the best serial killer drama I have seen in a while. Sadly Inuyashiki stumbles as it introduces more and more sci-fi elements to the story, culminating in an ending that came out of nowhere. What saved Inuyashiki’s ending from mediocrity was it’s well established characters, which managed a very beautiful and sad end to the series. Like a burnt steak with a beautiful sauce, it was good but could have been a lot better.

Inuyashiki staring, eyeless, into space

Characters

Finally the characters, the meat and gristle, the best part of InuyashikiInuyashiki spends a lot of time with its characters, solo or not, building them up and establishing who they are. This is because, at its heart, Inuyashiki is a character drama. There is no evil overlord or great power that must be stopped, its simply about our two main characters and their internal conflicts, which naturally lead the two against each other. A good portion of the show is taken up by Hiro and his internal conflict, his question of whether or not he is truly human. Inuyashiki did such a good job with this it, for a time, made me sympathetic for a mass murderer. Because of this Hiro and Inuyashiki managed to carry the show, questionable story and all, over the finish line and land it a respectable spot among this season’s anime.

Conclusion

All in all Inuyashiki did a good job. The story set everything up well, even if it flagged near the end. The directing made it interesting to watch and created some truly memorable shots, and the characters carried it through to the end. Had the overall story been better written, perhaps if it had paced itself better with one more episode, Inuyashiki could have been the standout of the season. As it is however, it will have to settle for most likely becoming a cult-classic. Something loved by the philosophical horror crowd of anime lovers and pushed relentlessly, just like Monster. Esteemed company to be in, all things considered.

4 Responses

  1. Avatar KTravlos says:

    It was a good show. Thank you for covering it.

  2. Avatar Anon-kun says:

    I was so disappointed by the decision to skip the sex scene between Inuyashiki and Shishigami that they were spending all the time building up to. It was really anti-climatic and nothing was wrapped up.

  3. Avatar Lawdog says:

    I am really surprised people enjoyed this anime. I thought it was pretty bad but it’s always interesting to see what others think of a show that you disliked. Thanks for the review.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      I can understand why people wouldn’t like it. The philosophizing, the janky CGI and out of nowhere ending can ruin it for a lot of people.

      For me, I got lucky that the moral questions interested me and that it happened to fit my taste. It really is a niche anime.

      Appreciate you readin it! Make sure to check out some of the other writers, their reviews may be more useful to you than my own weird tastes.

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