「かつて神だった獣たちへ」 (Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e)
“To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts”
In between complimentary Canada Day
beer beverages and fireworks preparations it’s easy to forget the summer 2019 season has officially started, but never fear, because Pancakes is here to remind you (and himself) of the fact. Slow start though it may be, Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e is determined to make the most of it, and, well, I dare say the show has succeeded. After all, who doesn’t like a bit of glorious 2D monster mashing?
As described in laborious detail in the RC Preview, Kemono-tachi is pretty much the MAPPA version of Fairy Gone. We’ve got human soldiers equipped with some very beastly abilities, the accompanying political situation just begging to let them go hog wild, and all the fun which comes with a society terrified of the results they’ve unleashed on the world. Sure it may not be the exact same in terms of setting—there’s a surprising American Civil War aesthetic at play here which becomes quite funny once you realize the geographic side these anime Confederates are fighting for—but it’s hard denying there’s more similarities than differences gracing this work.
The main difference between Kemono-tachi and Fairy Gone of course lies in the premise. In this one our beastly weapons called Incarnates aren’t just some former soldiers possessing illegal material—they’re legitimately ticking time bombs of destruction. Equipped with their powers through whatever procedure took place (guaranteed we’ll be learning more about it soon enough), their transformations apparently eat away both physically and mentally at their humanity, eventually leaving a monstrous aberration seeking nothing but annihilation. This as seen at the end will serve as Kemono-tachi’s central premise, where putting down rabid Incarnates before they can breed too much trouble in a postwar world is the raison d’etre of our main cast. It’s pretty much your quintessential character driven story, although its success will naturally come down to the strength of its characters, which so far at least is looking up. Hank (Konishi Katsuyuki) and Cain (Nakamura Yuuichi) for example are about as generic of hero and villain as you can get (particularly that utter lack of immediately discernable reason behind the latter’s actions), but there’s at least some semblance of depth to Hank’s tribulations, and when combined with the fun to be had concerning the totally not dead Incarnate creator Elaine (Noto Mamiko) you can bet this ride has plenty more to give. We may still have to be introduced to our real main character in Nancy and discover just what this show will be specifically about, but a taster so far at least Kemono-tachi is structurally hitting all the right notes.
Whether or not Kemono-tachi can successfully keep building on what it’s created here obviously remains the question, but so far at least this is one summer show that’s certainly made me curious seeing what the next episode brings.