- Titles: Monster Incidents, Kemono Incidents, Kemono Jihen
- Genre: Yokai, action, supernatural, found family
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Ajiado
Kohachi Inugami is what you would call a special detective. A very special detective. Let’s just say he specializes in cases most people would consider downright impossible. But you know, in a big city like Tokyo, pretty much everything is possible. But this particular case is taking him far from the hustle and bustle of the big city. All the way to a remote little mountain village where gruesome things are happening to the livestock and no one can explain it. That’s where Inugami meets Kabane for the first time. For the older detective, this might just be another day on the job, but for young Kabane, a whole new world is opening up. One in which he might finally be accepted. But why do the villagers avoid and scorn him? And why does his own adoptive mother seem to think he’s got something to do with the horrible events?
There is a short story floating around out there called I Am A Zombie Full of Love. I’ve mentioned it before. They adapted it to a movie called Warm Bodies. The story is only a few pages and it’s told from the point of view of the zombie as he struggles with his disorganized thoughts and overpowering cravings, all the while declaring his love for humanity and life. I was a fan of that short story as a kid and I find that any adaptation of that theme speaks to me.
I loved the look of Kemono Jihen. Absolutely loved it. And you can tell by just how many screencaps I ended up taking. At 12 episodes, I have more caps of that show than I do of a lot of 24 episode series. It’s what you would call my style.
I love the rounded cartoonish look of the characters with over-emphasized eyes. I loved the backgrounds and how detailed and lovingly rendered Tokyo is throughout the show. I really enjoyed just how expressive everyone’s face was. And those colours… Great colours!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the production was particularly luxurious or that you should go out of your way to watch Kemono Jihen because of it. I’m saying that it was really tailored to my particular tastes and as such I don’t have any complaints about it.
Oh and I really liked the voice acting. I caught a bit of it in its dubbed version and even the English voice cast was doing a great job and seemed to be having tons of fun with it.
Story & Characters
First of all, Kemono which is a word derived from beast could generally be used as a weresomething. You know werewolf, werecat… A half-human, half-beast monster. But in the series, it seems to be used a bit like what I see called Yokai. Although I will admit all the characters are humanoid so they do qualify as half-human in some way there are still traditional Kitsune and Tanuki that are also Kemono. From what I can tell, you can easily be both since the term Yokai casts such a wide net. Point being, Kemono appeal to my Yokai loving side. So let’s start there.
Kemono Jihen is a Yokai-centric action shonen. And you can pretty much tell just from that sentence that it’s the type of show I’m going to like.
The story itself is divided into a number of shorter arcs each dealing with a mystery to solve or a specific enemy to beat (sometimes both). These are fun classic shonen adventures that are likely to appeal to anyone who enjoys that genre.
But the deeper story of Kemono Jihen is very much a coming of age. Or several. Unlike the impression I might have given you so far, Kemono Jihen is very character-driven, All the fights and supernatural happenings are just window dressing. At the heart of the series is the story of a group of misfits finding a place to call home. And it’s quite sweet.
Kabane is arguably the main character. The series starts with his introduction to the others and he is the most frequent point of view character but the show spends a lot more time on the emotional development of the others. However, it’s still modulated by Kabane’s impressions of this new world he’s discovering.
That matters because Kabane is a nice guy who really loves his friends, but he’s also an extremely pragmatic and somewhat emotionless character. This means he basically offsets everyone else’s emotional journey which ends up creating a more nuanced and balanced impression.
So yeah, Kemono Jihen is about a bunch of young monster people fighting real monsters in the streets of Japan, but it’s also about a young man coming to terms with his abandonment issues, or another one trying to reconcile his own identity with the clash of expectations created by the society he grew up in. It’s about a little girl figuring out what it even means to have a normal family in the first place.
This happens between the fights. There’s a reason I didn’t label this show as a drama. All the themes and elements I described are there and they are significant. But the structure of the series makes sure that even through the musings and realizations, the characters are kicking butt.
Kemono Jihen has an ok raiting on Anilist. However, all the people I followed seemed to like it. The lowest rating I saw was a 6/10 but it’s from someone who pretty much never gives higher than a 6.5 so I have to assume they liked it as well. If anything I would say that it just wasn’t watched by that many people and that’s a shame. I would love to see another season. In fact, I liked it enough to look up the manga. I’m a little bummed that it’s so hard to find. I might have to resort to digital versions. Better than nothing!
You might like this anime if:
You like either Yokai, Shonen or Found Families.
My favourite character:
I went back and forth on this one but I think I have to give it to Inugami in the end. He’s pretty much the archetype I tend to prefer in general.
- Every time someone mentions Kabane’s parents – take a sip
- Every time you try to find a hoddie like Kabane’s – just me? I really want it
- Every time Shiki gets annoyed/mad – take a sip
- Every time Kabane gets “killed” – pour some out
- Every time we see purpl flame regeneration – take a sip
- Every time anyone says “kemono” – just breath in, they say it all the time
- Every time Akira i being adorable – take a sip
- Every time Kon gets (over)excited – take a sip
- Every time Shiki remains rational – good job!
- Every time anyone has pizza – get a snack
- Every time Kabane becomes a redhead – gasp!
- Every time Nowaki is a troll – take a sip
- Every time Inugami draws his gun – wonder where he gt it out from
- Every timeKon and Kabane meet in the park – awwwww
- Every time someone gets reunited with family – raise your glass
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.