Catchphrase for the Umpteenth Time.
This is going to be a short post, because Killing Bites is exactly what it seemed like from the start. It does two things, and does them well: bloody violence and sex appeal. There are some specific elements I’ll go into, but let’s fly high and talk about those first real quick.
Killing Bites is bloody. It’s almost recklessly violent, in its willingness to throw away named characters (as long as they were male and not plot important and/or attractive), which makes sense in light of the ending. That allows it to deliver on the blood sport aspect, since these characters are very much fighting to survive. The action is very anime—including special attacks to the point of absurdity, see: Hitomi’s “Slash”, what a humdinger of a name there—with plenty of intense reversals and unexpected twists that I very much enjoyed. I could have gone for more tactical depth instead of every character continually pulling out more facts about their animal that leads to their newest attack—though that probably shows the wisdom of completely changing the dynamic after a single arc. They were already losing me with the second transformation/”origin” therianthrope stuff with Hitomi. Still, all in all the action is good, just as I expected from the first episode.
The fanservice ended up being less prevalent as the season went on. I think? Actually, now that I think about it, it was probably about the same, outside of the noticeable spike due the Civetone Wrap. I just got kind of used to everyone showing a ton of skin, and once the female characters went more than a little beast, it wasn’t my thing anymore. I have to appreciate the rock hard abs on damn near every therianthrope, though. Respect.
As for the details of the series, I’m of a mixed mind when it comes to the ending. I want to talk about that more because, for most of the season, the plot was only seemingly there to get us from one battle to the other, and I was cool with that. Killing Bites is pretty simple at first: a bunch of rich bastards are making animal-people fight, now that’s happening. Cool! We’re here to watch animal-people fight, so viewers and audience were on the same page. All the zaibatsu stuff was mostly just good for seeing who was scheming what and who would get a comeuppance, like when the Mitsukado ojou-sama started gloating and then got all embarrassed when it became clear it wasn’t over. That was great! (Her getting raped after that, less so.)
So when Shidou launched his coup and Nomoto got killed, I was deeply uncertain. This has always felt like a series where, though the characters may take things seriously, the series itself doesn’t. Killing Bites is absurd, and it’s best when it plays up that absurdity so the audience can enjoy the spectacle without sensible reality intruding on the proceedings. Smashing the whole system and killing off one of the main characters seems like a great way to throw cold water on the ending. That said, I already talked about how the current setup might not have had much more in the way of legs (there are only so many more facts about the Honey Badger the author can trot out), and the way the writers quickly moved from Pouring Cold Water to Mysterious Leveled Up Nomoto In The Bushes kind of brushes away any sour taste with a desire to find out more. Plus Nomoto had an actual arc where he went from spineless coward to learning the value of making active decisions in his life (even if that decision is to do nothing), which sets him up to be a potentially interesting antagonist. Whoda thunk it?
All of which is to say that, in the end, Killing Bites is exactly what we thought it was. It’s a bloody spectacle of a violence orgy that takes refuge in audacity and isn’t afraid to make decisive changes to its world. I like that, even if it never really elevated above that point. No matter though, having a show where you can sit back and watch the animal-people butt heads isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s a pretty good time.
I could have done without Hitomi saying her damn catchphrase every blasted episode, though. That got old. We get it, sharper fangs. Jeez!
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: Book 3 Progress Report.