If you are anything like me, you may have missed the premiere of Kemono Jihen last week on January 10th. Popular shows plowed their way to the top of the rankings, as seen on our Week 1 and Week 2 charts. Although it has not been making much noise, Kemono Jihen starts strong with its episode 1 and 2 this season. With some interesting characters and an alluring Urban-Fantasy world, it’s sure to do good. These two aspects will no doubt draw an even larger audience. If you hadn’t heard of Kemono Jihen until now, here’s a little information. Kemono Jihen (“Monster Incidents” in English), is a supernatural Shounen anime based on the manga of the same name. It will follow the adventures of the young ‘hanyo‘ Kabane and his compatriots as they prevent Kemono from running rampant.
These first two episodes started out by establishing the setting of the series and introducing a few main characters. While the first episode took place at a remote village in the mountains, it seems the series will take place in Tokyo. In this world, there exist beings who have hidden in the shadows, and avoided humans, called Kemono. For most of history, the Kemono have kept themselves out of humans’ affairs, but now, we discover things have changed. Some have begun interbreeding with humans, producing half-breed beings with unique powers. Besides this, some Kemono have begun to lose control and attack human civilization, and that’s where our main cast enters the story.
Detective Inugami refers to himself as a ‘Kemonoist’, someone who specializes in dealing with situations where Kemono have begun to directly interact with the human world. He has started to gather a group of fellow specialists to train in this same way, Kabane and two others about his age. Shiki is a honyo like Kabane, but his specialty is spider silk. His sweat and saliva work like spider’s silk. He can use it to attach to things far away and make webs. The powers of the other Kemono we have met so far, Akira, have not been revealed. From the Opening, we can see that it’s most likely that he (yes, he is a boy) has an affinity for frost or snow type abilities.
Our protagonist, Kabane, is not immediately introduced to us by name. Boys in the mountain village of his home have called him ‘Dorotabo‘ for years since he has been tasked with the dirtiest and most demeaning labor. The few scenes with the other boys firmly establish that Dorotabo is an outcast. Even the owner of the inn, his aunt, treats him with strong disrespect and contempt. Because of that, the boy seems almost numb to everything at the beginning of the first episode. It’s not until Inugami talks with and encourages him that we see a different side of the protagonist. Gone is Dorotabo, and in his place is the real Kabane. The new Kabane stands up to and later saves his almost life-long bully. He faces an incredible truth about his nature and his past. and most shockingly, he faces death head-on. And that’s all in the first episode.
Episode 2 of Kemono Jihen reveals about as much. In addition to introducing some of the other Kemonoists, Inugami explains more about their role. This explanation is almost immediately put into practice when the group gets called upon for a mission. During this scene, we again see the strength of Kabane’s resolve. He pays no mind to the danger he might encounter and quickly does his best to save those in harm’s way. However, Inugami makes another key observation about Kabane during this scene. He is so sad. Kabane himself must finally realize this as well, but his resolve shines through again. He decides to believe that his parents are still alive somewhere, and he will find them.
Catch up on Kemono Jihen on Funimation before next Sunday’s episode!