What does it mean to be human? To be humane is to show compassion or benevolence, meaning that to be good and kind is considered inherently human. If there exist humans who can be referred to as monsters, then conversely wouldn’t it make sense that there are monsters that can be considered human? The ability to be compassionate does not have to be a solely human trait. It could just as easily belong to an alien, a vampire, or an immortal. Bem was unquestionably a series where appearances could be misleading. Putting all that aside for now, though, it was also a thoroughly entertaining series that provided tight, self-contained contained stories with crisp animation and a great deal more character development than such a structure would normally entail. Each week gave Bem, Bela, and Belo a new chance to form bonds with others, as well as a chance to reinforce their bonds with each other… which was why I was absolutely flabbergasted when Bela and Belo didn’t attend Bem’s execution.

It was definitely a shock to say the least, though I’d like to think that they had enough confidence in him to know that he could last long enough for them to rescue Belo’s friends and Harazy. In both cases, the tying up of their plot threads was quite well done. Through her drawings, it was plain to see that Harazy hadn’t forgotten her former guardian, nor the pain and trauma that losing him had left her with, yet Bela was able to reassure her that there was someone else out there who would love and accept her. Still, it was strange that while Bem, Bela, and Belo were in the middle of being accepted for who they are, Harazy was explicitly told not to use her powers if she ever wanted to be happy. Then again, it could be that explaining it in such a way was the only way to impress upon her how vital it was, since anything about experimentation or turning her into a weapon would fly straight over her head. Maybe someday Sonia will explain it to her in terms she can understand, but until then Harazy is a happy and, for all intents and purposes, normal little girl. And she’s loved.

As for Belo, his friends proved to be as unfailingly loyal and kind as ever. They accepted him without hesitation, remembering all the times he’d saved them. On the other hand, Daryl once again attempted to murder Belo, but became much more interesting once it finally sank in that Belo never harmed his dad and has only ever been trying to protect him. I say it’s interesting because with the series ending at this point, there’s no telling where this change of heart may lead him. He’s been appointed Madame’s successor, the next leader of the very council that murdered his father. I’d have loved to have seen where his rekindled friendship with Belo and personal drive for vengeance would have taken him.

Somehow, whenever Bem talked about becoming human, it never occurred to me that he wanted to die. People usually say that life gets boring after a thousand years or so, but does it? Hasn’t the evolution of humanity over the last thousand years been incredible? Cars and the internet and electricity are all relatively new in the grand scheme of things, yet somehow Bem and Madame have decided that life cannot be truly appreciated without an end. It’s a belief that seems to have its roots in how lonely they both are, yet the difference between them is that Bem, Bela, and Belo have actually tried to develop bonds with humans while Madame gave up on the idea. Thus, they were able to defeat her by working together, and then return to the people they’d chosen to protect, each of them human in all the ways that matter.

Over all, Bem was a sleek and revamped adaption of an older manga that wasn’t the least bit shy about showing off its cheesy, over-the-top villains, creative action sequences, and frequent transformations. It was strange at first, but now thinking back, the goofy villains really lent to Bem’s charm. In addition to that, seeing Bem, Bela, and Belo reach out over and over, striving constantly for connection, made it all the sweeter when they were finally accepted by those they’d saved. Like Bem said, saving humans would help them become human. And after all of their trials and tribulations, it seems that there was merit to the belief, after all.



  1. I quite enjoyed this show but now, summer is over.

    I guess mortality is a common theme in literature. I didn’t begin to connect any dots though until the last couple of episodes, when someone, I think Bem, said something about not being killable. I wasn’t sure though if he was being literal or not.

    Given the age of the four youkai ningen at the centre of the story, I curious as to why they chose the human appearances which they did. Bem and Vega seem understandable but I’m not sure about Bela or Belo. Why students?

    On the downside, I was disappointed in Vega. Both literally and metaphorically, she got the whole ‘give birth’ thing wrong. I guess she spent too much time in functional isolation. I thought she was going to be interested in Bem for other purposes and because he’s uniquely stylish.

    A comment on the music, I can’t help but wonder whether ‘Spider-Man’ (the ’67 ABC animated show) provided inspiration. That show had fantastic music (which still sounds great today).


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