「死の谷III」 (Shi no Tani III)
“The Valley of Death III”

Here lies a man who was born a human, lived his life as a human, and died as a human. Died happy, in the end…though you may not be.

Wishing For Death

To the young – the younger than I, or just the less introspective and empathetic – perhaps immortality seems like a grand thing. Personally, I agree with Hampnie – the thought of being alive when all your friends and family have long since passed away is a thing of horror. I don’t blame Hampnie for seeking his death, though what initially surprised me was that he was doing it even though he’s still so young. It makes sense, though – he has a time limit that other immortals (ones in other stories) do not have, a limit before his world is shorn of all companionship, his chance of death perhaps slipping away along with them. That thought drove him onward, to search for his lover and to search for his death, before it was too late. Hampnie’s life was the very stuff of tragedy, from the minute he could walk out freely under the sun.

A Father After All

Hampnie being Ai’s father was really no surprise. Were this reality of course, there would be every reason to assume that he wouldn’t be – a man stumbling across his unknown daughter is exceedingly unlikely. This being a story though, it was all but certain, especially after the tantalizing glimpse of the picture last episode that told the whole story.

I feel like there’s more I want to say here, but I’m not sure what it is. I will talk about “convenient” plot points in a moment, and Hampnie being Ai’s father could be said to be one, but some allowances must be made for the very basis of the story – after all, grand stories are not told about characters to whom normal things happen, but those which have remarkable experiences. It works, and it gave us some touching moments, which I very much enjoyed.

A Happy Death

Here’s where I start criticizing the story again. First of all, those baddies. They are the very definition of characters as devices (trope!), in that they were utterly one-dimensional and flat, having no depth and no purpose to exist other than the effect they had on Hampnie and Ai’s story. I don’t demand that every character be super well-rounded, but I feel like these guys being so one-dimensional hurt the story. One of our main characters died to such unremarkable, badly characterized people? Points to the seiyuu of the one that did all the talking, though. I’m not 100% certain since I don’t think they said the character’s name (or he was so otherwise unimportant that I instantly forgot it), but I’m pretty sure that was Yoshino Hiroyuki in full-on amazing mode. He did wonders with what he had. Bravo!

Now, onto Hampnie’s death – the final one that is, the one he only got up from for a little while. It smacked of convenience. He went around getting killed and resurrecting all this time, and he finally runs out of extra lives when its most dramatically appropriate? Perhaps there’s a justification for this, but if so I would have liked to hear it before this episode ended, because as is it smacks of the writer deciding that this would be the most dramatic moment for him to die, so damn the rules of the world they created, I will make it so! This was bittersweet solely for the sake of the feels, without the solid writing backing it up that would have made it work well. At the risk of being pilloried in the comments, that was disappointing.

Mind you, the final moments of this episode were powerful, especially when the ED began to play – oh gods, that ED. An excellent song that was utilized perfectly; if I was writing my OP & ED post today, I would have undoubtedly mentioned it. Feelings were had, and they were bittersweet, with emphasis on the bitter. For him to wake up for one last day…it was a gift to Ai, this one day with her father, the only day where they both knew what they were to one another. But for her to lose everything all over again? Hello knife. Oh my yes, go ahead and twist that sucker into my side. That feels good. Oh no, wait, FU–!!

Bittersweet endings can be very, very powerful, but the convenience of Hampnie’s death robbed his of that power. Also, it happened on episode three. So there’s that too.

Looking Ahead

Well, I certainly didn’t expect a main character to die (permanently, I’m assuming) at episode three. It will be interesting to see where things go from here, now that the band has been broken up and Ai has to go it solo. What I most look forward to is to see where her new found resolve to save the world will take her. She’s had her doomed hometown (trope!) burned down, and even an extra death to propel her forward…I wonder where our little Ai Astin will go from here.

Fortunately for you, you won’t have to hear me yak about this show anymore – Zanibas is back, so he’ll be covering this from next week onward. A good episode to hand things off on, I think. Please treat my adorable kouhai well, as always.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Convenience robs what could have been a fantastic episode of much of its power. So much done right, to fall flat to lazy writing #kaminai

Random thoughts:

  • Yuri sure got off his I-want-to-die kick real quick. Is it because of Ai? Because there’s another “daughter” he can protect?
  • I forgot to mention – we got the final word on why Hampnie exterminated Ai’s village. Apparently she can’t sense the recently dead like Scar can. A village of the dead, still moving for the sake of one little girl, the youngest child on the planet…what great people they were.
  • It’s undeniable that some of the shots in this show are artistically beautiful, while others are straight up scenery porn. I’m fine with both of these.
  • Does this mean no more loli punting? Probably for the best. Seriously Hampnie, it was getting old. Oh, right–he can’t hear me. He’s dead. Awkward…

For more from yours truly, check out my blog on writing, art, and the book I’m working on at stiltsoutloud.com.

Full-length images: 03, 04, 12, 13, 16, 18.





    1. Indeed the scene was really sad and powerful (despite the artificious and rushed build-up).
      So much that the cameraman was running around in cirlce for mere sadness. Like:

      Cameraman: “UHAAAAAA, this is so sad, I can’t take it!!!” *spins around*

      I really did a great choice to pick up this series. 🙂

      1. Very true. Chances are the actions of his life will echo throughout the story from here on out…hopefully. Hopefully, or else he really wasn’t that important at all.

        A good character death should change people. We shall see if that happens.

  1. I don’t actually know since I haven’t read the novels/manga but I felt like his dying was about his wish being granted to die happily with his family, friends etc. At the very least, it makes about as much sense as being randomly granted immortality one day just because he wished for it. Seems like the ‘God’ in this anime has a cruel way of granting wishes.

    1. He did NOT “randomly, granted immortality one day”. It states he is already dead in that wooden cottage, and wake up (that one day w/ Ai) as the DEAD. That’s why Ai did not say “Stay w/ me forever” at the every end (where the epic ED played), because the dead tent to be “selfish, and cling on the living/love one”, like Hampine said when they are near the fire-place.

  2. Did that motherfucker’s left eye turn without his right eye?????

    Somehow I knew Scar was going to be a badass character, and I was right….but DAYUM!!!
    Hampnie or Kizuna, as I’ll just call him from now on, was and IS a very significant character, but I thought he’d be alive for the entire series, unless there’s a plot twist, which I doubt since this ending was so powerful.

  3. I thought the reason that Hampnie died at such a convenient time was precisely because he wished for it to be so – he wanted to die happily, surrounded by people he loved, with just a slightest bit of regret – which was exactly what happened at that time (the narration even makes this explicit). Connecting this with what his theory about God granting human wishes, this makes sense to me.

    1. You may very well be right, though if so, that’s not something I will ever enjoy about this story – I despise plot points that boil down to “god did it” nine times out of ten. It’s so very cheap.

      1. I saw it as something far more tragic than convenient. He wanted to die because he had no reason to live, and God granted him death as soon as he found that reason. To me, it seemed to be trying to show that in this show’s universe, God is a fickle being, not necessarily just to spur on character development for Ai.

      2. I think that god granted Hampnie’s wish to die peacefully, because he found out Ai was his daughter, and it just so happens that he’s bleeding to death as this happened, so god removed Hampnie’s immortality, which I guess some people could say is a little too much for coincidence, but I thought that was a rather smooth transitions than an unnnatural one.

    2. I agree with Defade. That’s what I thought as well. He had his wish granted (well, almost), and he passed on, like they say with the ghosts. But now, he knows that he has a daughter (a loli at that) why would he wish to die? He said so himself: “I don’t want to die”

      Hopefully, they’ll throw us some explanations. I don’t want it to be a convenient point like Stilits mentioned.

      1. Remember, he said, “I despise the dead, for they always hinder the living” in ep2? Yes, and if he keeps on ‘living’ he could contradict what he believe throughout all his immorality life. Also, he does not want to “hinder” Ai, especially she is his daughter.

      2. In a very real way all the living are just a shadow of their former selfs, the more they live the tess there is of who they really are, Kizuna wanted that Air remember him as who he truly was not the fake he could become.

      3. I think it´s part of the many contraditions that form what we call human nature; we wish for something so bad but when we obtain it we are so sure if we want it, we come to terms with our own mortality but we fear death none the less. As convinient as it might be for an explanation it really fits Hampie´s nature or as Scar said the way a human is.

    3. Except he didn’t just want to die happily, you cut it short to convenience your theory. He wanted to LIVE HAPPILY AND die happily. He only got half the deal. He only got to “live” happily after he was dead, thus he didn’t even live it. Bad writing is bad; Stilts has been right.

  4. THAT ending was too much! It’s like the final episode all of a sudden!
    A main character dying so early in the show [Episode 3], it like Gurren Lagann all over again with Kamina dying at episode 7.
    But what happened to his immortality? Though the episode shows him getting buried and all, hopefully he resurrects fully after some time.

    1. Maybe he is not really the “immortal” he thinks he is?

      The whole thing about how God became bored and left the world dialogue was not something that really transpired after (as was explained in episode 2), it’s all human perspective as to what transpired 15 years ago in the story.

    2. @ Hagiri
      Humpert’s immortality was taken away by god when his wish was fulfilled. It just so happens that’s the point where he also died. So in the ending scene when he ‘came back to life’, it was in the form of the ‘living dead’, not in his immortality form. That’s why Ai had to bury him, otherwise he’ll eventually break down, threatening Ai and anyone else.

  5. Wow. I actually teared up with Ai right at the end, like actual freaking tears running down my face and I couldn’t help it – the ending theme + the last scene, right in the feeeels. The “villains” being one-dimensional could be tied to their deteriorating mental state since they are ‘dead.’ Any input from LN readers?

    1. Yes, yes, I know what you mean! I was crying when I read the manga (RAW), especially, in the manga, he is still ‘alive'(looking at her and give a genious smile)when Ai buries him. She put the earth on his “gentle face as he close his eye”. T_T

    2. I also know what you mean. I also had tears rolling down my face. I really wasn’t expecting him to die so early. Now I’m really curious to see where this story goes and how exactly she’s going to accomplish saving the world.

      My random thought:
      When did Ai-chan get so bad ass, dodging bullets? She couldn’t even take Yuri an episode ago, for whatever reason, I’m down with it :).

  6. This episode would’ve been a lot better/sadder if the studio didn’t cut out quite a number of things. Show Spoiler ▼

    Overall still a good episode though.

      1. The flashback that the anime showed was only this episode. Point 3 refers to an argument between Ai and her dad which the anime didn’t show. She thought that the villagers were ‘normal people’ because of the fact that she mainly mingled around with the dead.

  7. Stilts I agree with your views on the baddies. When I was watching the show, I thought they would be pretty important characters. Turns out the white guy just wants Hamburt’s ‘immortality’ (how on earth do u even take someone’s immortality if its ‘granted’ by god?). And he just goes batshit insane when Hamburt told him about his wish (Was it wrong for me to laugh at that scene?). Then boom, in the next 5 min, all of them got killed by Scar & Yuri. So what was the point of having 7 ‘villains’ appearing only to get killed in the same episode? Aside from getting Hamburt killed.

    On a side note, more screen time for Scar and Yuri please! As a replacement for the loss of Mr ‘Badass’ Hamburt. At least Ai has inherited her father’s badass-ness

    Whats up with getting awesome VAs like Rina Sato and Yoshino Hiroyuki voicing characters that only appear for 1 episode. They deserve better roles!

  8. @Stilts, about Ai’s village you are kind of off track about it. AFAIK the villagers (most of them) were just taking advantage of Ai and her mother, because they heard that this village has a ‘messed up’ grave guardian,so they would not be disposed of like in other villages which are covered by a ‘normal’ grave guardian. And the fact is that most villagers had some parts missing in them already (the anime only showed some brief shots and only in this episode) so they were really in some bad state.
    But, there is 1 villager that isn’t dead, its Ai’s foster father, the one who said ‘sorry’ to Ai in the flashback. He’s like Yuri (wife dead, wanted to keep her ‘alive’), so he moved to the villager. So Ai did get a lot of love and care from her foster parents, where other villagers are more going for their own gain. And his existence is to show that Hampnie, in his drive to wipe out the ‘living dead’, will kill even living people.

  9. Stilts, Maybe do a double review like some shows back a year or two ago? It could be very entertaining for both writers and readers!

    PS. This episode ending was very very powerful, it’s easily ranked in top ten for me.

    1. Naw. This show has was great meat to write about, but I could use the extra time to work on other stuff, and besides, I wouldn’t want to distract you from what Zani is going to say. I’ll just stop by and toss out a comment or two when I feel like it : )

  10. Those last few moments were so touching and more than enough to…no,I’m afraid I can’t really say that.They can’t possibly make up for the fact that this episode felt rushed as hell(anime only viewer’s perspective btw).To name the problems I had with this episode:

    – The random baddies that apparently had some sort of relationship to Hampnie/Kizuna but it’s never really explained,yet mentioned as if just to tease us.
    – Yuri’s sudden change of attitude towards him,it could’ve at least used A LITTLE build up.
    – I’m not a fan of long speeches during crisis situation and Ai telling Hampnie about her being his daughter & getting all emotional would’ve probably worked better after the kidnapping.
    – As for that battle itself,just when did Ai turn into Neo?They’d better have give an explanation to that in the upcoming episodes,as well as this.
    – Hampnie’s death being so convenient.Maybe we can just brush it off by saying God was being a major dick here?

    But my biggest concern is where the series is gonna go from here.Fighting crime with Ai & Scar(and maybe Yuri and the other people in that picture)?That wouldn’t sound too bad if it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t think Ai can carry this show.Hampnie on the other hand,probably could but so much for that.It’s not so much of a problem killing off one of the main characters but it’s killing the most interesting one while leaving the other,not-so-interesting one take the stage completely.

    1. Just didn’t see a reason to change it up on his last episode. That was the name he went by, so we ought to honor him with it, ne?

      …No, but really, I was really just being lazy 😀

  11. This Ep was good,but isn’t it moving too fast?I thought for the first time that Hampnie was an important Character(as we see him firstly in the first Ep)who will gonna help the MC(mmmh,really I don’t get well what’s the Main Goal of this anime…).
    I can’t really say now that this anime is great since I encountered too many gap between the cutscenes and illogical events,but I won’t say either that this anime is bad.Apart from the Amazing Style Design,I found it normal.

  12. If I’m not mistaking, this is how vol 1 of the LN ended. As much as I like Hampnie, he was merely a character for the first arc of Kami Inai, but a very important one.
    He had the same fate as Kamina. It was necessary for them to die in order for the main character to grow. Before, Ai didn’t even know where to go or what to do, she was simply following him. Now she wants to save the world (though I have not the slightest idea how can she do that, or is it even possible).
    For those like me who have only read the manga, sure, this was taken pretty fast, but IMHO, animating all those in the manga (more comedy & loli abuse) weren’t that necessary. Since, this is, only the first arc after all. I think the real story is how Ai saves the world.
    Lastly, if the writer was aiming to give the audience the feels, he succeeded. I feel really bad for Hampnie and Ai. She freakin’ buried her own father!

  13. It has been a while since an anime made me cry….and so early in the series too.
    I wonder what Ai inherited from Kizuna ….she has Hana’s(her mum) looks , her emotions , her gravekeeper tendencies…I’m guessing what she got from him is deep below the surface….I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope Kizuna Astin still has an impact on the story , despite the fact he is dead.

  14. Just a note on his death, the ‘dramatic’ death that ‘conveniently’ came when he finally met his daughter, could possibly imply that he had his wish granted, he initially wanted to live immortally until he died a happy ending, something like that.

    Besides that wow -.-‘ I totally didn’t expect him to die so fast, that was just…. I am still out of balance 😀 Thanks for your review, M.

  15. Hmm, mixed feelings.

    At first I thought this arc would end in episode 4, but it seems like the studio didn’t take their sweet time and rush things like mad. Hell, this episode is basically 2/3 contents of volume 1. They cut too many scenes and as the result, this episode lost much emotional impacts compared to LN.
    When Julie saved Ai from drowning in riverShow Spoiler ▼

    After Hampnie dead, and reborn as undeadShow Spoiler ▼

    And the most powerful scene, that the studio forgot to adapt in animeShow Spoiler ▼

    Overall a decent episode, but still left a lot to be desired

      1. More like blame the studio for being overly ambitious. After watching Hataraku Maou Sama, I can safely say that its not whether a show has 1 cour or 2 cour that decides how the adaptation is going to be. HaMaou used 13 episodes to animate just 2 volumes. Why can’t Madhouse do the same for this? But no, they had to cut all the emotional scenes so that they can squeeze as many characters as possible into the show.

      2. Agreed with Ashkem. Sometimes the cour-length is a detriment, if you need to reach a good stopping point and there’s just not a good one for a while yet (more common in manga adaptations than LN ones…the end of an LN is almost always a good stopping point), but often it’s about how much they decide to bite off. I’d always rather studios take their time and do it properly rather than rush and leave us unsatisfied.

    1. Actually that is not why Humpnie “died”. It has nothing to do with his wish being granted. He cannot die but it does not mean he can’t feel tired or pain. He was pretty beat up by those guys and was on the verge of death. Which in a sense he did. But he revived again as he is immortal.

      The time-skip was shown. They spent time together. Ai was able to gain memories of her and her father. But remember that he wanted to die happy. He didn’t want to live any longer. So Ai granted this wish, not “God”. Remember that she is a Gravekeeper. Whoever she buries loses their immortality and thus getting a true death, which is what he wanted. It has nothing to do with the God that abandoned everyone.

      Mogar The Gate Keeper
  16. I’d like to think there was a huge plot hole, but it shouldn’t be, right?
    Don’t like it when creators wants us to make our own explanation : “Oh, the immortal died because his wish finally got granted”

    The explanations are understandable, I believe that’s the case too, but it was just executed poorly. I’ll read the manga to fill the gaps. Pretty sure it will answer the many questions episode 3 provided

    OF ALL CHARACTERS WHY Hamphnie? i was all about this anime when i first saw him in the trailer and now to see he fades away just in episode 3…i can’t stand this fact or the one that he leaves Ai alone…

    LOVED the moment he gaved Ai his one last name “Kizuna Aisten…Ai Aisten..what a good name”
    FOREVER A BEAUTIFUL YET SAD ENDING WITH A REGRETFUL DEATH…(god…i cried like hell over this sudden and unexpected ending)


  18. Overall a good episode. But the one part that really irks me is when Ai was crying at the end, a song about lovers is being played. The tune is appropriate, but the lyrics just smacks of inappropriateness. A young girl is burying her father and a love song is being played. Just epic.

    1. Ahaha, I didn’t notice that! I usually ignore the lyrics in almost all music and treat them less like poetry and more like an instrument I can produce with my voice. The music itself was powerful, even if the words may not have worked quite so well. Will have to go back and listen to it while paying attention to that.

  19. Props go to the writers for this. The entire first light novel in three very good episodes. I don’t think his death was that big of a surprise, he is barely in the OP sequence. And when he is, he is shown from a distance like he is a past character that is haunting.

  20. Well the rule of 3 strikes again. This episode was so good though. how are they going to top that?

    I would agree that the baddies were kind of just put in there and were more like set pieces than anything else.

  21. Quote: Now, onto Hampnie’s death – the final one that is, the one he only got up from for a little while. It smacked of convenience. He went around getting killed and resurrecting all this time, and he finally runs out of extra lives when its most dramatically appropriate? Perhaps there’s a justification for this, but if so I would have liked to hear it before this episode ended, because as is it smacks of the writer deciding that this would be the most dramatic moment for him to die, so damn the rules of the world they created, I will make it so! This was bittersweet solely for the sake of the feels, without the solid writing backing it up that would have made it work well. At the risk of being pilloried in the comments, that was disappointing. End Quote

    Uhh I hope you watched after this because you know for a fact he did not “die”. At least not in the moment that you said he did. He came back to life. You saw it. It wasn’t until the Ai, a Gravekeeper, buried him did he truly die. So really he did not die from one sides dimensional characters.

    Also I see some people not understanding why his immortality was “taken” from him. Did you guys even watch the first few episodes? Do you not understand what a Gravekeeper DOES? They’re the only one’s who can truly “kill” people. When they bury someone it’s giving them a true death and allowing them to “move on”. How do you guys not understand this 3 episodes in when they explained it in the very first? Are we even watching the same show?

    Mogar The Gate Keeper
    1. Ugh I’m too drunk. Didn’t read enough comments. I did not see that everyone was talking about his “Immortality of not being an undead” part of it. In this sense yes I believe his immortality could have been taken by this so called God. But I’d also like to argue that most of the people that were “Living Dead” probably had no other motive than to just live forever, thus having their wish already granted they became “corrupt”.

      What I’d like to think is that Humpnie/Kizunas strong will of wanting to find his love was what was keeping him from dying. Remember his dream was to die HAPPY with a wife and child to sadden. Because that was his true wish he did not become like the others that start to “turn”. At least that’s how I would like to interpret it.

      I feel like just “God” taking away his immortality seems too convenient. So I’ll stand by this reasoning.

      Sorry for negatively responding to those that were talking about his non-undead immortality. It’s like when people talk about Lag but use it for both Latency and FPS. In this case immortality being his non-undead and living dead immortality.

      Mogar The Gate Keeper
  22. Sorry, but this was just bad! These three episodes were pretty bad – at least considering the story. Too convenient, too many coincidences, but by far the worst: it wasnt coherent at all! Sure, you can just suddenly love the guy that killed your “parents” and all the people you ever knew…Amd what happened with the revenge of the other guy? Suddenly everything is forgiven and forgotten? And he even defends Humpney? Why?! WHY?! Or didnt he want revenge and was just looking for an excuse to die? But it would have been nice to at least see ONE THOUGHT on that matter from that guys perspective. Because the change was just there! Plop! 180 degree character change!…And whats with the gravekeeper woman? She is not supposed to have a personality? Well, her attitude sure didnt seem to be neutral to me in this episode…

    Well, this is the result if you cut away too much. It felt really really weird. This story didnt make any sense. And worst of all – but this is a personal matter – the most annoying character is gonna carry this show from now on on her own? No way that will work…

    There are some good things of course – music, setting, pictures…but if you amputate a story as much as it has happened here, the loss is too big. Thats why Im dropping this show.


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