Kamryn Schnieder ~ Copy Editor
The first week of January marked the release of this year’s first season of anime. I was way deep in Dungeons and Dragons and missed it, but spent my week playing catch up. There were a handful of shows that fit into the genres I am interested in, and I watched what had been released of those already.
One in particular kept catching my attention and it was not until I watched the first episode that I realized I recognized it. I read a good amount of manga, but oftentimes they are unfinished or dropped, so the shorter form ones fall out of my brain pretty quick. Kemono Jihen, Monster Incidents, was a manga I had read and either finished or dropped for whatever reason but remembered greatly enjoying it.
Originally a manga by Shou Aimoto, Kemono Jihen was taken and adapted by studio Ajia-do. At the moment it only has 4 episodes out but could have up to 13 or 25 depending on how much content there is to adapt to animation. Spoiler warning for at least the first episode and maybe bleeding into the other few.
Kemono Jihen tells the story of a small supernatural detective agency lead by Kohachi Inugami, a tricky Tanuki, which is a Japanese racoon, essentially, considered supernatural in many myths and folklore. Inugami heads to a farming town to investigate rapidly, and strangely, decaying animal carcasses. In this town he meets Dorotabo, a young boy ostracized and left to work the fields while the other children go play. Spoilery things happen and it is revealed that Dorotabo, actually named Kabane, is a half-demon who was left by his parents with his aunt.
Inugami, because of spoilery things, decides to take Kabane with him back to town, to Tokyo. The setting of this story is in a kind of suspended time period with a very traditional outskirts but a somewhat futuristic Tokyo. It is jarring but interesting and passes by without any big mess, so it is fine to just let it slide.
In Tokyo, Kabane is invited by Inugami to join his agency and help protect the balance between Kemono, supernatural monsters or beast, and humanity. The agency is simply titled “The Kemono Office” and Inugami explains that his customers usually come to him. In this agency, Kabane meets two other children just a bit older than him.
One is Shiki, another half-demon similar to Kabane. He is a big abrasive and rough and does not start very welcoming towards Kabane but warms up to him after a short while. Shiki is half spider demon and is able to produce a silk thread that nothing can break free from. The other is Akira. Though quite delicate and feminine in personality and appearance, Akira is a boy. Akira, like Shiki, is 15. Akira is a snow kemono and can create ice and snow when he focuses really hard on it. Another child is introduced really soon in the show, a kitsune girl who is sent by a more powerful kitsune woman to steal an object of Kabane. A short comical interaction between the girl, Kon, and Inugami smooths things over and she becomes an ally of the agency. Kon has transformative and fiery powers from her foxlike-demon powers.
Kabane himself possesses extraordinary strength and regenerative powers. That combined with no sense of pain and a history that has eliminated his fear makes him an absurd powerhouse for combat. He is monotone and aloof, keeping to himself unless spoken to and only gets upset about very specific triggers.
The show is action and supernatural but has comedic events as well. It also features a cast of children in a found family type scenario at the agency, giving a wholesome flare to some of the interactions. If this sounds like a show you are interested in, you can find it at Funimation.com/shows/kemono-jihen/ or if you have access to the Japanese Netflix.