Netflix is really upping their game here in Canada with their uploads. I ventured onto Netflix Canada after weeks of neglect and saw that a new anime was uploaded. Ajin: Demi-Humans was a new upload and from just the screen picture I was intrigued. The title was vaguely familiar (it is an adaptation of a manga) and when I researched the manga I realized I had come across it in the past.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as the animation was different from what I’m used to with anime. It had the anime quality of art, but it almost looked CGI. It was computer animated but not fully 3D. I’ve raved about 3D animation in anime in another one of my blogs, (refer to THE ART OF 3D ANIMATION) and so my interest was piqued. I started on episode one, with low expectations but the excitement that comes with starting a new anime series. As a side not, I’m not really into the horror genre of anime, I did watch Tokyo Ghoul and loved it, but there were certain elements that made me uncomfortable and and cringe (I’m referring to Tanaki’s torture which frankly makes everyone uncomfortable).
As a short summary of what Ajin is about; there are non-human, rare beings called Ajin’s who are basically immortal but who are people except they don’t die. What I mean by this is that they look human, they talk human, they have emotions like human, the only difference between them and “normal” humans is that they are immortal. Because Ajin’s are so rare, they are hunted by the government and feared by the world. When one is identified they are captured for experimentation. The show follows a young teenage Ajin named Kei who doesn’t know he is an Ajin until he gets into a fatal car crash and finds out. Kei spends the series running from the government and a “pro-ajin terrorist group” led by an Ajin named Mr. Sato as he is hunted. Kei also happens to be something called a “variant”. Variants are able to materialize a black ghost, called an IBM and Kei is able to create this black ghost, which sort of acts like his personal protector/shield in times of need. I won’t spoil too much of the shows plot, because it’s good, but I’ll just say that I noticed a lot of parallels between this show and Tokyo Ghoul.
So you have this young boy realize he is inhumane, like Tanaki, he meets others just like him, oh hey Tanaki too, this poor kid gets captured and brutally tortured, sounds familiar and basically such extreme torture that no one deserves least of all an innocent kid who just wants to be left alone and live peacefully. Every time I think back to Tanaki’s torture I get sad and it’s been months since the season ended. I need season 3 to happen so bad. I’m pretty sure I’ll never get over it. Kei and Tanaki are similar, but also very different. Kei is frankly, a jerk. He’s selfish and looks out for himself. He did get better at the end but for the most part he’s not into helping others. However, this makes him a fascinating character because he even knows this about himself and addresses it as his character. But then there’s actual character growth! It’s actually very exciting when that happens for a character because it gives them depth. I really liked that about Kei.
As the for the rest of the characters, they’re great. I really loved Kei’s childhood friend Kai, who for the first part of the series aided Kei in his escape. I’m serious I would kill for a friend like Kai. He was willing to risk his own normal human life to help Kei and Kei realized this and had to leave him. I wish he was in it till the end, or at least made an appearance at the end of the series. The villains are very interesting. So they’re kind of split. You have the government villains and the Ajin terrorist villains. However, two villainous characters, Tosaki and the female Ajin sort of seem like decent people for a while. They work for the government or some sort of Ajin commission and though are after Kei, they don’t seem like they want to resort to extreme violent measures. I wasn’t even sure that they were the bad guys until Tosaki went crazy with wanting to capture and experiment on Ajin’s. So the Ajin terrorists (not they’re actual name just what I’m calling them)are these group of Ajin’s, lead by Sato to stop oppression of Ajin’s but use violence to do so. It was also Sato’s fault that Kei was captured and tortured. Honestly I had so much trouble watching the torture episode(s). But yeah, very interesting characters.
So I loved this show. Way more than I thought I would. Like I said I had no expectations going into it because I am unfamiliar with the manga, with the plot, and the animation threw me off. But I loved the animation so much. It was so fitting. I tried to imagine this show in standard anime style animation where the characters are drawn and outlined, and it wouldn’t have had the same effect. The black ghosts being in this strange 2D CGI animation made them come to life and it gave them dimension and great shape in their movements. Also I was able to appreciate the beauty of the characters in this style because they were all actually beautiful. The shape of their eyes and even just the facial movements were stunning. It also helps that the opening was bomb af. You know how I’m a sucker for a catchy anime op and this one, accompanied with he beautiful visuals was A+++.
I highly, HIGHLY recommend this show. It’s only one season, 13 episodes, really short. I watched it in the span of 24 hours so it’s quick. I look forward to a season 2.