The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Kemonozume

Title: Kemonozume
Genre: Action/Romance
Company: Madhouse Studios
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 5 Aug 2006 – 4 Nov 2006

Synopsis: After drawing the ire of the Gods, two individuals were cursed with a beastly form that manifests itself during times of stimulation. The decedents of cannibal monsters are known as the Shokujinki who survive by eating the flesh of humans. These monsters are hunted by the Kifuuken, a group of high caliber swordsman sworn to wipe out the Shokujinki. Trouble arises when the son and heir of the Kifuuken falls in love with a beautiful woman named Yuka who happens to be one of the monsters he has sworn to slay.

The Highlights
Animation: Rough, scratchy and highly unusual.
Plot: Clever and engaging.
Ending: What just happened?

Genuine creativity is hard to come by in Japanese animation. Most artistic experiments are either too boring to watch or have more holes than Swiss cheese. Those few productions that turn out to be good, however, can only be considered delicacies. Unorthodox, violent and freakishly entertaining, Kemonozume tears across the boundaries of conventional anime making it one of the most creative productions of 2006.

This series is best described as a gratuitous exercise of extremes. Chaotic, sketch-like animation painted with dark, moody colors provide the visuals, while a unique slew of music and a strong seiyuu cast provide the sounds. The story ranges from dead serious to roll-on-the-floor hilarious, and it knows where it wants to go. While the show inherently caters to few people, it is nice to a take casual a dive off the deep end from time to time.

Set on the tune of forbidden love, the series bounces back and forth from drama to insanity. Kemonozume has a volatile chemistry of twists, revelations and sheer oddities. Not unlike sucker punching the brain, the show likes to openly screw with the audience with its disturbing imagery and chaotic ramblings. Yet, everything somehow comes together into an unusual but coherent finale.

Despite being morbidly original, the show is not without its flaws. As good as the character development is the constant slaughter of random individuals makes it hard to put significant emotional investment on anyone, even the main characters. To be honest, by the end of the show, I would not have cared much if everyone died – not that they do – save the monkey.

Neurotic, chaotic and everything in between, Kemonozume doesn’t simply break the conventional anime mold; it takes a sledge hammer and shatters it. For all those still interested in watching the series, I must warn you about the unpolished animation, gratuitous violence and the high dosages of “WTF?!” Quite frankly, half of my brain is wondering what the hell I just saw. The other half can only think of one word: “genius.”

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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