「いやあ、疲れたね」 (Iyaa, Tsukareta ne)
“Man, I’m Tired”

Which one were you rooting for?

If rooting for Izuku from Boku no Hero Academia is like rooting for Leicester City (easy), then this current “war” going on between Satou and Tosaki is more like Manchester United vs. Chelsea.  Anyone with a shred of sense hates them both, but the game is a lot more interesting if you have a rooting interest so your instinct forces you to pick one or the other.  It’s not incumbent on a series to give you someone that’s easy to root for, but the absence of any force for decency does leave a thriller like Ajin a bit empty on some level. And as long as Kei sits on the sidelines eating rice crackers (not for much longer it seems, though not by choice) he’s their moral equivalent.

By the way, I was Team Satou this week.

As Ajin soldiers on, oblivious to the calendar on its way to finishing its season next week, it’s frustrating to consider what a challenge this show’s odd production strategy makes of following the story.  Presumably the plot will pick up in the movies where the series left off – but then, since the series rehashed the first two movies, maybe the movies will keep going from where they left off and rehash part of the TV?  Who knows – but what I do know is that watching this series play out, I can’t help but grumble a little that it’s receiving this oddball TV-movie hybrid in CGI when lesser thrillers get much better treatment.  Let’s be honest – Ajin is certainly a better series than Shingeki no Kyoujin, but the world of anime is anything but fair.

At least the turn the story has taken – much more action and big special-effects set pieces – is far better-suited to Polygon’s CGI treatment than the character drama earlier on.  This battle between Satou and the anti-terrorism unit was a fascinating one to watch play out, a real game of cat and mouse between Satou and Tosaki.  Having the swat teams keep up a near-continuous volley of fire on Satou and not allowing him to revive was pretty clever.  There were several cards to be played on both sides – Dueling sniper teams, drones – and the momentum of the conflict seemed to flow back and forth several times.  But Tanaka’s IBM was the wild card that trumped the hand – though Tosaki did have a counter-measure planned, it wasn’t enough.

Meanwhile, the bubble of security Kei has imagined surrounds him is about to be formally burst.  As the old men of the village watch the horrifying events in Tokyo and get hammered on umeshu and box sake, and Kou does his best impression of Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear, Kita-san sees his retirement go up in smoke along with Grant Pharmaceuticals’ future.  And when news of an official ¥100 million reward flashes along with Kei’s photo, whatever hope Kei had of continuing this charade goes up in smoke too.

Honestly, I would have kinda liked to see what Kei would have done if his hand hadn’t been forced – if all he had prodding him towards action was his conscience.  Now he’ll have no choice but to change his plans and flee at the very least, and I do hope he takes the time to free Kou from his prison before he does.  Watching Satou is undeniably fun – he’s a serious badass, and he goes about the role of psycho-terrorist with a good deal of panache.  But ultimately I think the story is more interesting if it has at least a bit of moral texture and shows us characters genuinely conflicted over what they should be doing.




  1. This screw up is definitely not Tosaki’s fault. It was a great strategy, but the “special forces” portrayed here were totally incompetent. How is it possible that all 20-ish special ops commandos get 100% distracted by sniper fire, take no cover, barely even move, and start looking around stupidly while forgetting to continue shooting Satou. Especially considering it only takes two guys to do the job, they had to have done tons of drills for this mission in advance, and they were in no position to fire back at the sniper even if they found him.

    At the crucial moment, they were just a bunch of dumb, untrained idiots. Should have been Satou’s loss.

      1. I kept hoping his ajin would turn on him. The guy is a piece of work. Even a finace in a coma has not made him sympathetic. I hope she’s the one to take him down. I so was hoping she’d turn on him in the room they kept smoking guy. If she killed all three, then she could run off screaming that an AJIN was attacking them. She’d be clear. Free of that maniac. And I assume he’s the only one who knows what she is.

    1. it’s kinda hard to take cover when you got snipers on your ass. And even if they left two people to kill satou, those two people would still have to be concerned about sniper fire.

  2. I don’t understand why bother killing someone that will just revive instead use glue and lots of it. Shooting someone so quickly they are stun locked is terribly inefficient compared to just immobilizing them forever as it doesn’t matter if they can revive or not.

      1. Lots of glue means it doesn’t matter if dead/tranquillized/immobilized/… effectively it would encase a subject in a block of glue that would ignore their revival powers entirely by physically locking them in place (basically burial on the surface). I believe Satou’s plan for non-cooperating Ajin was to bury them deep underground so a fast acting glue would be a weaponized version and would be extremely effective.

      1. Glue != tranquillizer. You certainly could be alive/reviving/dead and trapped in glue. Afterwards you just scrap them all into drums and fill with concrete and bury.

  3. This episode was great, and I love what they’re doing with the story, but I just don’t see how Kei will eventually beat Satou, which feels liek how all these sorts of stories end.

    My one caveat with this episode was I have no idea how Satou’s snipers made those almost improbable shots through the chaos and smoke to shoot off his restraints when those highly trained snipers had trouble shooting from building to building in the clear day.

    Otherwise, this is some compelling stuff.

    Bamboo Blade Cat
  4. I’m still confused on how tranquilizers are not allowed on a guy who just massacred a ton of people and destroyed two buildings. Also I wonder if Satou’s explanation of decapitation was correct, maybe they should have chopped his head off and dealt with a “new” Satou. According to him it would be a fresh personality. I suppose that would be too easy and a boring end to this villain.

    1. It is mentioned in the episode that even to tranquilize dangerous animals trained professionals must be on site or it is illegal. The entire encounter was a highly publicized event with all of Japan watching and judging how the conflict is handled.

      The law is bloated with bureaucracy and contradictions. Take tazers for example. In the past Police officers would always use non-lethal counter measures before resorting to their service weapon which would most certainly result in at least one causality.

      But because tasers and pepper spray has been highly publicized in the media the laws become convoluted. The laws changed and it became more of a hassle (extra paper work and liability) for law enforcement to use non-lethal methods such as tazers. Since it is simpler to claim that life was in danger in court because in many circumstances this is feasible, this is the common approach.

      That is just an example of how the law can influence the behavior agencies when under the media microscope. Not that it mattered much since the news copter was destroyed.

      Sage Nemo
  5. Sadly, the problem is, if Kei’s hand wasn’t forced he wouldn’t have done anything. He would have just kept living in that Village. Kei is a piece of shit who doesn’t care about humans remember.

    1. Kei is not empathetic in a normal way, probably sociopathic. Just not inherently violently/evil-mastermind sociopathic. He just doesn’t feel internally the normal way. But if you see the reactions of his “friends” to his Ajin-resurrection, they are monsters, too. Total lack of compassion. This could have been, in another time, Jews running from Germans or black men from lynch mobs. They stop seeing a boy who grew up in their town and went to their school as human.

      I’m not convinced they’re not human. Clearly, they were born of human parents, and something in them is different. Whether the difference comes from a DNA mutation or something done by the Black Ghost (does the black ghost originate in the Ajin or does it originate the ajin–was this made clear?)

      And let’s face it, even if your neighbor is immortal, as long as they aren’t violent and evil, why are they to be treated as less than human? I mean, if they are not dangerous, why should immortality make them victims? Other than exploitation?

      This is why if I were ajin, I might do like Kei and try to hide and live as peacefully and anonymously as possible (shoot, the guy had 10 days of nonstop horror to show him what getting caught costs). I might not be heroic like the ones who want to save humans from Sato. I might be thinking, “They tortured me. No one helped me. Eff em. They can all die, except those who were kind to me.” I’d help Kai if I were Kei. I’d help the old lady. The rest can burn, since neither his mom or sister give an eff about him.”

  6. Totally Team Satou, but only because I was really upset about the torture they’ve been inflicting (flashbacks to reading about Unit 731). That Sato put on the nice old man with wheelchair patient act and supplied testimony about abuses of Ajin, and people still didn’t much give a crap (hence no one gathering for the protest other than a few and some BlackGhosts), tells me he was partly in the right to go after the groups abusing AJIN–the pharmaceutical company being one using human (ie Ajin) test subjects. The innocent victims, yeah, you feel very sorry. There had to be many casualties in buildings and street. But my own outrage at the not caring (back to episode one as “none of my business”) and the repeated “could be any of you” comments–yeah, they now got people’s attention. Now, anyone can be in the path of danger if the AJIN situation is not addressed.

    So, I was definitely rooting for Satou to make a statement. And dayum, that was some cool strategy. Plus, let’s face it, he clearly likes killing too much, but he was the epitome of cool striding out of the wreckage all by himself and taking on the Swat team.

    If self-defense is a justification, then every AJIN in danger of continuous, excruciating experimentation-torture is right to kill all those who would capture them and take them back to the labs. I see that as self-defense now that they have shown the world that the lab is no safe place. It’s a Mengele-worthy torture chamber.

    I got no pity for torturers and those making money off torture. I want to see Satou take every one of those lab people and the knowing Ajin-users in corporations. Every one of them. Boom.


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