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BEM – 03

「Shadow」

Now that introductions of the core three are out of the way, BEM is at last ready to propel its main story along. First, though, let’s dive into what had to be my favorite of these introductory episodes – Belo’s. If Bem’s episode had a very police procedural feel to it, and Bela’s carried elements of a slice-of-life high school teen drama, then Belo’s leaned heavily on the superhero genre. The villain of this episode was a ninja who took out his targets with deadly accuracy while proclaiming, “Nin!” at every opportunity. Given the generally muted color palette of the series and perpetually stoic demeanor of our monster heroes, every time one of those villains pops up to throw a bowling ball or feed a hamster sunflower seeds my head’s thrown for a bit of a loop. It’s like they decided to make this adaptation darker and more serious than the original, but copy-and-pasted the villains. The conceit of the series is actually quite unique. The monsters are the good guys, struggling for acceptance and companionship in spite of the seeming futility of their efforts, while the villains exist purely to be defeated. I’d even go so far as to say they’re the least compelling part of the series, but they’re also not a huge part. Their job is to provide conflict and die, which they have done admirably.

Seeing how Belo interacts with humans did a fantastic of – ahem – humanizing him. Whether he’s actually a child or just a small monster wearing a child’s face, it’s undeniable that when Bela mentioned he was bodyguarding last episode, she was talking about the children he spends time with at the arcade. Looks like he’s something of a gaming pro, using his mad skills to defend the right of the kids to play at the arcade whenever they want from other rival preteens. Although it was good to see Belo spend time in Upper, especially for worldbuilding purposes, the superhero elements of this episode doomed his budding friendship to failure. After everything Belo did to save his new friend’s father, a man who wasn’t as good as he’d appeared considering he’d already had two well-intentioned politicians assassinated, he was still blamed for the man’s death. To be fair, though, most people would have a hard time swallowing that the person standing naked and covered in blood over the body wasn’t responsible for the murder. One of the last shots of the episode was Belo immersed in his handheld video games, the kind that doesn’t require others to play, with his headphones placed firmly on his head to block out the world… or to cover up his ears. There’s something else going on with those headphones that I didn’t quite catch, but my gut tells me they’re for filtering out white noise so he can focus better. And also symbolic of loneliness and isolation. Naturally.

What I’m taking most from these three episodes is how much of a familial unit Bem, Bela, and Belo are. They’re constantly looking out for each other. It’s been apparent from the start that Belo doesn’t think they’ll ever be human, but he hangs out with them on skyscrapers and bridges anyway because he cares about them as much as they care about him. At the end of the day, that’s the dynamic I’m most interested in seeing grow and change throughout the series.

July 30, 2019 at 8:11 am
6 comments »
  • July 30, 2019 at 10:50 amVonter

    I do like and wonder, when a series commits to have a character rip their clothes everytime they transform. I do wonder if they’ll commit to it or just find convenient shortcuts. I don’t know, it’ll be funny if it’s like The Terminator and they either steal them from people or from cloth stores. Or maybe like with Super heroes they have a closet full of the same type of clothes (in the case of Bela I suppose considering it is a school uniform).

    All in all it’s a popcorn series, but it’s very enjoyable, I think I’m at the right mindset in seeing it as a throwback to 2000s movies like Blade, Underworld and the like.

    • July 31, 2019 at 5:48 pmStars

      It’d definitely be funny if they started daintily stripping down before battles just because buying new clothes is starting to get expensive. I could see Bem ripping off his shirt and pants with a straight face

  • July 31, 2019 at 4:12 pmMockman

    Offhand, I find Belo the least interesting of the trio (sullen teenager) but this was a decent episode and his stock has gone up. With the introductions presumably complete, I wonder what happens next.

    • July 31, 2019 at 5:45 pmStars

      True, though they’re all rather brooding. Bela’s really the only one who puts any effort into acting human

      • July 31, 2019 at 9:14 pmVonter

        I’ll like to see more interactions, mainly disagreements on how to proceed with something or the other extreme of them explaining how they formed their bonds. In the original it was established more or less like a family, in here, I think that concept is harder to translate since the background of all them seems very different. Belo wanders with kids his age on the arcade, Bela is going to a highschool, and Bem, I presume is piecing together with the police the evil presence around the city.

        I think if it at least attempts to have the spirit of the original it’ll need to have something these characters cherish and becoming more emotional about it. So far unlike the X-men they seem to fit well to their sorroundings, so far.

  • July 31, 2019 at 9:49 pmKryto

    I do like seeing how each of the three monsters goes about their daily lives. From what I can see, Bem doesn’t actually pretend to be a human? Or at least we haven’t seen him at a day job so to speak. Which is funny considering that he’s the leader and has planted the idea of becoming human into Bela and Belo’s head. Bela is going all in on her the whole become human angle, with her spending the daylight hours in upper and acting the perfect school girl. I wonder how much of that is a facade based on “how a human should act” and how much is her being earnest.

    As for Belo, I first thought he was just some edgy guy. But maybe he’s more of a kid than I thought. It seems to me that his whole “I don’t want to interact with humans” spiel is more about protecting himself from exactly what happened in this episode.

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