If you’re a fan of anime and the supernatural, then Kemono Jihen is a series that should definitely be on your radar. The show, which is based on the manga by Shou Aimoto, has been generating a lot of buzz since its debut. In this Kemono Jihen review, we’ll take a closer look at what makes this series so special. From its intriguing plot and memorable characters to its beautiful animation and thrilling action sequences, there’s a lot to love about Kemono Jihen. So if you’re ready to dive into a world filled with mystery and adventure, this Kemono Jihen review is the perfect place to start.
The anime started airing in the Winter 2021 anime season. Kemono Jihen is animated by Ajia-do, also known for their work in Ascendance of a Bookworm.
Set in the modern day with an emphasis on different folklore of Japan, this series combines some pretty interesting concepts. Opening in an out-of-the-way village it feels like the series will be slow the entire time, however, come the end of the first episode things start to speed up rather quickly. This is only enhanced by the addition of a pretty good supporting cast of characters and voice actors.
The premise of a mythical creature who is a detective and actively puts down other mythical creatures is nothing new. The way this series handles things is different with its focus feeling like it is on the development of its characters, over a resolution to its main plot.
The first half of the very first episode moves rather slowly but plays the biggest role in what is to come. Unlike most anime where the entire scene and mood of the events to follow are set in the beginning episodes this simple sequence shows the opposite of what the amine is about. Granted there is a gory sequence but it’s nothing too bad. What is shown is a tranquil atmosphere that quite frankly makes me question if the series is as good as it sounds. This rapidly changes after the halfway mark to be more of what you expect from the description of the series, ending in what feels, at least at the time, a sad and puzzling moment.
After the initial Episode concludes things start to make more sense for the remaining 11 in this series. Episode 2 opens with the introduction of the opening credits which are actually pretty interesting for both music and visuals, somewhat setting up the characters and outlining some pretty epic sequences to come. Once the plot starts to unravel over the next few episodes Kabane really starts to fall into the role of a protagonist. Where you might have thought Inugami was the protagonist it feels like Kabane fits the bill way better, and Inugami fits a supporting/ Mentoring role. This is only because of how the first episode is handled, where most of the time it is focused on Inugami.
Being recruited to the Inugami Strangeness Consultancy Office (Kemonoist), Kabane works alongside Akira and Shiki to solve mysteries that only a Kemonoist can resolve. All while paying off the debt to Inugami for his help in locating Kabane’s parents.
Throughout the series, there are some pretty fantastic characters, other than Kabane and Inugami. Although the series follows Kabane, even the little characters can feel like they have their own hero class role.
Both the hero and an impossible oddity, Kabane is somewhat clueless when it comes to the world outside of the village he was brought up in. The environment, in which he was raised, was limited and so bad that he doesn’t have the basic knowledge to know any better. Thanks to Inugami, however, he was able to abandon that life and start working as a Kemonoist in Tokyo. His philosophy is “I only kill if not given a choice“, going on a supernatural anime where a lot of the enemies will try to kill him this is a brave or stupid way to look at it. Either way living by that is a smarter thing to do despite knowing no fear, it also shows that he has so much that can be developed as the series progresses.
The first character you meet in the series, who has a reoccurring role in the events. Based in Tokyo, he is the head of Inugami Strangeness Offices, a private detective on the surface. His true job is in the occult as a Kemonoist, a specialist who deals with the supernatural and mythical of the world.
Personally, this is a great character who reminds me, in appearance, of Sanji from One Piece. It probably doesn’t help however that his English voice is the person who voices Franky from One Piece.
Introduced as a Tanuki, a Racoon-dog, looking at him the resemblance can somewhat be seen. Please note Racoon-dogs are not the same as Reindeer who have gained humanity, yes we are looking at you Chopper!
First introduced alongside Shiki at the end of Episode 1, this white-haired character seems more feminine than male. This is pointed out in Episode 2 when Kabane compliments him on meeting a pretty girl and he gets angry. As the Episodes go on you learn that he can’t deal with gory or disgusting things, which must be near impossible for a Kemonoist. In Episode 4 we finally get some insight into who this character is or more importantly what he is. Hailing from the snowy mountains he is a Yukionoko, which is described roughly as a Snow Person. It should be noted that Yukionoko is based on the legend of the Yuki-onna which is a Snow Woman. Although at the start of the story, he is not very good at controlling his power, which is very evident in Episode 4, he shows 1 if not the most development over the 12 episodes.
The last of the children working and living at the Inugami Strangeness Office. The first impressions are this character is a strong and calm person who thinks things through situations, this is revealed to be a facade in Episode 6. Appearance wise he has a strong resemblance and attitude to Katsuki Bakugo from My Hero Academia. Episode 7 starts off with a trip to track down his parent, until this point he believes he was abandoned. The only blood family is Shiki’s uncle, who they are going to see. His powers come from the Arachne, which you might have guessed, is a spider Kemono. Much like Akira, Shiki has a pretty big development throughout the series. The swiftest change he has can be seen in Episode 8.
Introduced in Episode 5 this character is possibly the oddest one you will meet over the 12 episodes, and that’s a pretty big challenge. Put simply he is a vampire and possibly the most irritating, narcissistic, and self-centered character in the series. That being said what did you expect from a vampire? As described by Inugami, vampires are practically un-killable, for Mihai this is more doubly so as he seems to be the evil puppet master type, only out for his own amusement.
Despite all these bad points about him, he does have a good side. On top of being a gamer, he is the agency tech wizard and maintains the computer systems and everything. How bad can he really be? An undead, never aging, fiend of the night.
This is all well and good focusing on the “Main Team” but there are way more characters that help drive the story. The biggest contributors are the Kitsune, who are foxes. Inugami being a Tanuki makes the relationship with his counterpart, a Kitsune, very interesting at times in the series. This is because the Kitsune and Tanuki are at odds.
There are 3 main Kitune introduced over the course of the 12 Episodes. Although they might not see eye to eye with Tanuki, that doesn’t mean that the “Kids” of Inugami Strangeness Office fall under this banner. The first real introduction to two of these is done in Episode 3 when Kabane is sent to meet a member of the Shinjuku Police Department. The third Kitsune is introduced to Kabane in Episode 6.
She is the head of the Police and one of the meanest characters in the anime. Not to say that she is violent, her cruelty comes from how creepy and unsettling she makes the viewer. In her introduction, she has the entirety of the Shinjuku Police Station bewitched and almost zombified. Later in the same Episode, this becomes even more apparent when a fight between Kon and Shiki, technically Kabane too, erupts and the building is engulfed in flames. The fact that this character is the most powerful, diplomatically anyway, has to say something about her, but her innate ability to use everyone around her even Kon and Nobimaru makes her probably worse than Mihai.
The direct subordinate to Inari when you first are introduced to her, however as the Episodes go on she becomes a character who is more herself. The main reason for this is she is thrown away by Inari and replaced by Nobimaru, with that being said Kabane tries to make her feel better when he can. During Episode 8 it is revealed that she is hurting because of the events that are happening between Kabane and Aya.
The underling of Inari, and possibly the hardest of the Kitsune to understand. He is introduced in Episode 6 at the very end as a clean-up guy. Although his power is on display and he seems pretty strong, he opens up to Kabane about things including his disdain for his new master, Inari. In a later episode, he helps Kabane and his friends work out the truth of what is happening and even plays an active role in battle.
These are the characters who play an active role in the events that unfold over the 12 Episodes, there are more characters, like Aya and Kumi, however, they are only in for a few Episodes and only really driving forces for the ones in question.
Overall the series is good but there is a lot lacking to make it something that I would go back to in a hurry. There is however plenty to keep the series interesting, such as the development of the character, and finding out the questions which are missed out on. I found the story to be weak as it felt like the main goal is to find Kabane’s parents. This seems to get sidelined for most of the anime and the focus shifts to Shiki, Akira, and even Mihai. Not to say the anime is bad but where Kabane is the protagonist, there seemed to be a bigger focus on the development and evolution of the characters, and when the 12th Episode concluded I found I wanted to know about things that were introduced earlier. Unlike in other series. This short and sweet 12 Episode anime seemed to leave the goal to another season, to which we have no continuing story yet.
With that in mind the Development of the characters was the highlight for me and where some anime take forever to build up characters (yes we are looking at you One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto), at points in Episodes it could feel like you knew the characters longer then you would think. Whether this is to do with the dynamic between the characters, I couldn’t say.
Looking for more reviews to read? Be sure to visit this page and discover a wide range of informative and insightful reviews. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions.