Kemono no Souja Erin

Title:Kemono no Souja Erin
Das Lied der Bestien (German)
Kemono no Sōja
Kemono no Sou-ja
Kemono no Sou-ja Erin (Japanese)
Kemono no Soujya
Kemono no Sousha
La Charmeuse de Betes (French)
The Beast Player (English)
けもののそうじゃ (Japanese/Kana)
獣の奏者エリン (Japanese/Kanji)
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Production I.G.
Kemono no Souja Erin (The Beast Player Erin) is a fantasy adventure series about a young woman gifted with the ability to command animals, including dragons - as if she was playing a musical instrument and her adventures in a distant land at a time of a war between kingdoms.

Written by UEHASHI Nahoko and illustrated by TAKEMOTO Itoe, and serialized in the Japanese manga monthly - Shonen Sirius (Kodansha)

Series first aired on January 10th, '09.
50 TV episodes.

For more information, see ↗Kemono no Souja Erin wikipage.

2009 Anime Reactor Award - BEST ADVENTURE FANTASY STORY.
"獣" ("kemono") = "beast, brute"; "奏者" (normally pronounced "sousha" but the kana sound pattern "そうじゃ" is "souja") = "instrumentalist, musician".
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 7 7 7 8 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:1982#1552]
Beast Player Erin had enough it told concerning Erin's growing understanding of animals and how she would wind up involved in a conflict between kingdoms as a result of the affinity she develops. Despite some shortcomings the series has in its choices of presentation, Beast Player Erin had enough to keep me hooked on it from start to finish. The series divides its focus on exploring the developments of Erin's character looking into the unique upbringing that leads her to develop the strong desire she has in learning about and caring for beasts and the building tensions between those supporting the Queen and the Grand Duke of the kingdom.

In Erin's case, the show explores her character growth as she understands more about the relationship between man and beasts, as well as knowing of both the benefits and hardships faced by caring for animals in human society. The show goes through a couple time skips in reflecting the different times in Erin's life as she understands more about beasts and their treatment by the kingdom. The show's mood starts light-hearted with Erin as a child where she was brought up with her mother caring for the kingdom's Touda and her everyday life as she learns about raising the Touda from her mother. But as time goes on up to when Erin is an adult, the show's mood becomes much more serious reflecting the realities of raising beasts that Erin must confront which put her life at risk at a number of points. As Erin confronts new challenges brought forth by man's rules laid out in treating beasts, her personal beliefs on the treatment of them are pushed to their limits which she tries to overcome as best as she can.

In the case of the kingdom conflicts, the show explores the mentalities of characters having influence between both factions as they have their justifications for choosing their sides and supporting either the Queen or the Grand Duke. There is clear tension shown with the factions as some characters strongly belief that they are doing the right thing or are manipulating others for their personal gain. This tension clearly leads to the severing of bonds at points in the series. As the show progresses, these tensions get to a breaking point where it would appear civil war is about to break out within the kingdom. Just like Erin's developments, those within these factions have their own character developments where their personal beliefs are explored and challenged as they face hardships throughout the series. Plus, the two story paths eventually converge together as Erin is dragged into the conflict of kingdoms by the Queen's faction.

Besides focus on the characters and the conflict between the kingdoms, Beast Player Erin also looks into other factions within the series that have some connection to the major events taking place in the series such as the Mist People rumored to have secrets in controlling animals and the Sezan who are secret bodyguards of the Queen. Some of these factions made considerable sacrifices to uphold the current society made for the kingdom which the series does look into at points, as well as a history of how the kingdom came to be. For having enough focus on plot, characters, background and the notable factions within the series, Beast Player Erin had done enough to hook me for its 50 episode run.

But this doesn't necessarily make the series completely perfect as there are some issues I did have with some elements of its presentation that did enough to kill the show's mood. The narrator heard at the start and ending of each episode has the annoying habit of rubbing in your face what characters are thinking in response to a tense moment rather than keeping things subtle. Insert songs are used quite often during major and tense moments in the series which were not only intrusive for me to be engaged in a moment taking place, but quite often the songs are reused from earlier episodes. I also felt Nuk and Mok were very annoying comic relief characters who do a poor job at easing the mood following a tense scene. Fortunately, their moments do become less as the show progresses yet they still stick around, much to my annoyance.

On the visual end, Beast Player Erin is average for the most part. Character designs are decent looking with faded colors and some detail though backgrounds look washed out and faded compared to the characters. Animation highlights are shown through moments involving the Toudas engaging in combat and running in large groups yet sword fights with human characters isn't so impressive. The more intense moments of the show coming from Touda and Ouju attacks are stylized artistically in a way that makes it more disturbing than actually witnessing the acts occur onscreen, giving it a unique style of presentation.

Overall, Beast Player Erin is a worthwhile anime filled with fleshed-out characters, two separate plots that converge upon one another as the show progresses and looking into the connections each faction within the series has to the title's main plot. This is one of the best titles I've seen which has yet to be licensed by any American distributor.

Last updated Friday, September 24 2010. Created Friday, September 24 2010.

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