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Notables: Animation - MAPPA
Ichiro Inuyashiki is down on his luck. While only 58 years old, his geriatric looks often have him written off as a pathetic old man by the world around him and he's constantly ignored and disrespected by his family despite all that he's done to support them. On top of everything else, his doctor has revealed that he has cancer and it appears that he has little time left in this world. But just when it seems things couldn't get any worse, a blinding light in the night sky strikes the earth where Ichiro stands.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

11 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent Stretch [series:3431#628]

(All episodes watched):

OK, here is the first anime of the season--the first anime since at least last Spring, actually--that really made me sit up and take notice. A miserable 58 year old man in poor health is given a new lease on life after he is accidentally killed by aliens. They revive him and give him an artificial body which was originally designed for a soldier, apparently. No doubt he will now go and kick some asses since he has essentially been made into a superhero. There was an offhand comment by one of the aliens that what they had done might be bad news for Earth as a whole, but they were in a hurry and were amusingly flippant about the whole affair. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next and felt an urge to immediately go and start downloading any additional episodes which had become available. My only qualm is that the violence and sadism could get kind of disturbing at times--it reminded me of Gantz. Indeed, it turns out that both stories had the same author. Maybe this violence is necessary. This is without doubt the best show of the season that I have watched so far. In fact, this is the sort of show which, if I had to choose between watching either this show alone or every other show of the season that I liked, I would be tempted to choose this one.

I wanted to watch episode two immediately, but waited until I had watched the first episodes of every Fall anime that was new to me. When I finally did, episode two didn't disappoint. A clever conflict is coming together here: I had figured that Daichiro and Hiro, the teen who was also killed and revived by the aliens, would probably team up to fight injustice together. But no, it looks like they'll be fighting each other. Daichiro feels pity for others and wants to use his weapons to defend the downtrodden, but while Hiro is fiercely loyal to friends and family, he basically doesn't give a damn about anybody else and will even kill strangers himself just for a modest thrill. This is a much more intriguing twist than the situation I had expected. Perhaps the key is to create an unexpected but relatively simple conflict and go with it, expanding on it and developing it, not take the easy way out. Many shows hardly bother to create a fundamental conflict at all. Episode two was violent, just like episode one. But this episode cemented my opinion: if I had to choose between this show and every other one this season, I would choose Inuyashiki.

In episode three Daichiro goes around experimenting with his artificial body to see what he can and can't do. He helps people out (he visits a hospital to see if he can cure chronic illnesses) while the teen is content to murder a few more people. In episode four a new villain does something totally reprehensible and disturbing--I was tempted to turn the episode off at one point--then Daichiro kicks his ass. It's crude, visceral--and effective. These guys are clearly very bad, and they get just what they deserve. The teenager with the second artificial body does not appear at all in the episode. Episode five reminded me of how rich and fascinating this show is compared to most anime, as new and intriguing twists are added to the plot. Hiro's longtime friend takes action to end his murder spree, and Hiro's mother almost puts an end to it herself, completely by accident. Also, a girl in his class confesses to Hiro (is that Daichiro's daughter?). Also noteworthy is the bit where the use of the term 'killing machine' causes Daichiro to express his feelings about his new situation. All these developments make perfect sense but we don't know how things will wind up as a result of them, which is fun. So much happens in this one episode that I felt I ought to watch it twice before moving on.

In episode six Hiro goes on a rampage, killing dozens of people. It may have been necessary for the story, but it wasn't nearly as fun as the plot twists of episode five. In episode seven he makes yet another U-turn in his attitude towards what to do with his robo-body. These wild shifts aren't nonsensical, but they are a little jarring. But, come to think of it, they are also a little fun since it means we don't know what to expect. In episode eight Daichiro's daughter gets wind of his special abilities and a surprising new threat that he and/or Hiro will have to deal with is introduced. And more wholesale slaughter. But whereas Gantz had such a cynical, nihilistic tone that it was disturbing, here at least one character is trying to do what's right, and as a result the show doesn't have the same feeling. Episode nine is still more mayhem, without much development of the two new and intriguing threads that appeared ion episode eight. Daichiro's daughter doesn't seem particularly shocked by what she has discovered about her father, and the asteroid hasn't approached earth yet. The problem is figuring out where Hiro is, so that Daichiro can intercept him. The high tech gizmos in his body can apparently keep his thoughts silent so that Daichiro can't zero in on him (and presumably vice-versa). Daichiro hasn't figured out just what weapons he possesses and how to use them effectively either, so taking on Hiro at this point might not be a good idea.

I was surprised to learn that this series would consist of only 11 episodes, which meant a crisis had to be looming, even though I didn't exactly feel such a thing approaching. Hiro kills more and more people, but that's hardly novel anymore. And to a large degree the crisis comes in episode ten, which effectively makes the series shorter still. A second crisis, involving the asteroid, comes in episode 11. The final episode struck me as satisfactory but not brilliant. I didn't really get any major surprises at any point; and it seemed rough around the edges. For instance, if Hiro is so loyal to his girlfriend, why didn't he attempt to contact her after running off? Being the demigod that he was, it wouldn't have been all that difficult. The conclusion tried to be moving and tragic, but it could only be partially successful due to the roughness of the characters. Hiro's flip-flopping between good and evil never made much sense. And for some reason I couldn't get all that emotional about what happened to Daichi himself (but the caricature of president Trump was amusing). Afterwards I watched the next-to-last episode of Juuni Taisen, and that struck me as a somewhat more intriguing and clever piece of work than the final episode of Inuyashiki. This was a show which got off to a grand start but in general wasn't as good as that start had left me expecting. But it was by no means a bad show--it was a good deal better than Gantz, at least.

Last updated Saturday, December 30 2017. Created Tuesday, October 24 2017.

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