「ケモナーx興行」 (Kemonar x Kougyou)
“Animal x Event”
A city-wide tournament is afoot in this installment of Hataage! Kemono Michi as the guild and the townsfolk discover the true meaning of wrestling with all-comers exhibition matches. But with this episode, it calls too much attention to the fact that the show lives and dies by its supporting cast, and without them, we would be stuck with a protagonist whose jokes aren’t sustainable enough to carry the series alone. The last episode had the major issue of giving Genzou little room to bounce off of other stronger characters or other animals/beasts, causing him to fall back on the same joke of attacking people who call him a “beast killer”.
Introducing more beasts doesn’t exactly solve the issue either as his molestation-themed animal humor creates awkward moments such as the anguish that Misha has in seeing Wolfgang suffer panic attacks as a survivor of multiple assaults or an ending that gives Genzou another opportunity to violate the wolfman. The show never shows tact revolving when to pull back its punches, which has been a larger problem with how it treats Camilla by reveling so much in making her a punching bag that it starts to lose its humor when it takes any inch it can grab to humiliate her.
But with Wolfgang, he exists solely to feed into Genzou’s lust for animals, providing us a glimpse into the anime’s mean-spirited humor that not only gives us a victim to laugh at but also continues to victimize him for our entertainment. Aside from his attempt to kidnap Hiroyuki, any scene we see of Wolfgang exists to mock his victimhood as he keeps reliving the continuous times he’s been violated or assaulted by Genzou.
But because this episode focuses on a large tournament where the supporting cast is able to compete with one another, it gives them both an opportunity to shine on their own and give Genzou proper material to work with. In an example of funnier animal-based jokes with Genzou, the beginning has a hilarious scene where the Kobold husband is ready to fight Genzou for seducing his wife when he had directly wanted to confront him about wrestling. Similarly, the Kobold wife is amusing as she swoons over both her husband and Genzou, and continues to feed into the misunderstanding.
Genzou also bounces off the other characters very well within this episode too. His vitriolic relationship with Camilla gave her one moment to finally shine as she dropkicks her tag-team partner Genzou in the face, unconvincingly acting like she didn’t mean to aim for him. He also revealed a small part of his past to Shigure as her hustle and his efforts to organize the event reminded him of his older days as a grunt, wearing him down in such a way that he hasn’t experienced in years.
It was disappointing to see that the hooded man was Wolfgang and not MAO, but the ending does give us some hope that we’ll get to see more of MAO’s development now that he’s aware of what Genzou has been up to. The lackluster set-up towards the Princess and her kingdom’s involvement with Genzou’s development as “the Hero” looks like it might end up paying off soon as well given that she was made aware of the tournament that Genzou had organized. Whether these end up converging at some point is to be left to the cards, but for now, we will just have to wait and see what the anime has in store for its future episodes.