Kemono Jihen: A Cool, Creepy Supernatural Show About Non-Human Found Family Anime First Impressions (Winter 2021)

Kemono Jihen (怪物事変) is a shōnen, dark fantasy, supernatural anime adaptation of the manga series, following Special Detective Kōachi Inugami who’s summoned to a mountain village after the discovery of animal corpses. Shortly after he arrives, he meets a young boy that wishes to help the detective in solving the case. This eventually leads Inugami to realise that supernatural forces may be at play. The anime is being produced by Ajia-do Animation Works and directed by Masaya Fujimori.

I know that the season is getting close to its end, but I was craving a suspenseful supernatural anime to start up after recently finishing the first season of Natsume’s Book of Friends (re-watching). Since this looked and sounded promising, and because it shall be ending soon, I figured it’d be a good pick. After watching the first segment, I feel like Kemono Jihen is super promising, which is positively delightful.

My favourite part was how atmospheric it is. I’m not sure if it’s just small towns in general, or the fact that animals are mysteriously killed, but everything about this place is eerie and makes my spine tingle in non-fun ways. For me, that’s typically the mark of great suspense to come. The surroundings are terribly drab and dry and also empty as if the place is slowly going deserted. The sun is shining bright and relentlessly, with trees looming in the background. Everything about it gave me strong Shiki vibes. Even though I was wholly creeped out, I was also excited to see what kinds of dark and fucked-up secrets the town holds.

My second favourite part is the detective that comes to town to help solve the enigma of the dead animals. You can tell immediately that he’s a little bit of a buffoon as he stands out like blood splatter on a white wall. That’s probably why he hits it off with the kid that everyone stays the hell away from. I’m a big fan of adopted family dynamics and seeing the detective with this boy gave me such powerful adoptive guardian feelings. They have great chemistry and really complement one another’s presence on screen. I was wooed by their interactions and, honestly, if everything else about the show sucked, I’d probably keep watching just for them.

These two characters do a good job of balancing the suspenseful and shady aspects of the narrative with some soft humour and heartfelt goodness. When a show is constantly dark and disturbing, it can be mentally hefty to binge-watch. But when that morbid air is broken up, I find it to be far more engaging. As the kid helps the detective to decipher what’s happening in town, the mystery veers into the fucked-up realm that stems from having a supernatural spine to the storytelling. But again, their engagement and flow of working together really helps to prevent everything from feeling so heavily negative and despairing. It made the episode fly by so quickly that when it finally ended, I was pretty sad.

Beyond that, I don’t really have much else to say about Kemono Jihen’s first segment, at least not without treading into spoiler territory, which I’d like to avoid. Suffice to say, this anime is encouraging to my ghostly yearnings, and I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed that it won’t disappoint as I make my way through the available segments. Based entirely off the initial twenty-four minutes, so far I would definitely recommend Kemono Jihen.

Native: 怪物事変
Source: Manga series by Shō Aimoto
Demographic: Shōnen
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Supernatural
Season: Winter 2021
Episodes: 12
Studio: Ajia-do Animation Works
Director: Masaya Fujimori
Content Warnings: Bullying. Animal corpses. Animal attacks. Blood. Violence.
AniList: Kemono Jihen
Streaming: Funimation, Anime Lab (Aus)

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