OP: 「Kemono Michi」by (Daisuke Ono)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼
So the good news is that Kemono Jihen has found a new fan in me. The bad news is that we (you and I) are in for a wild ride.
So, if you’ve read any of my blog posts, I’ve never been shy to share when an episode made me tear up. See where this is going? I wish I could say I’m not an emotional person but published self-written text all over RandomC’s website will prove to the contrary. So if it’s no surprise to long-time readers that I’ve cried, yet again. And if you’re new, then welcome to the rollercoaster of emotions that is Miss.
Impossible to say whether or not I like Kemono Jihen yet. I’m intrigued, I want to know more about the characters, so you could say I’m drawn to the series. Only two episodes in and the story isn’t even trying to tread lightly. In addition to the lost children who make up the Kemonoist team lead by Unigami, the episode showcases the hardships of a low-income and single-parent household.
Since it’s been a few days since the episode came out, I’ll give you a brief recap. We’ve returned to Tokyo right when Kabane is introduced to the rest of Inugami’s team. His new roommates, friends, and colleagues are less than thrilled to have him around and Kabane isn’t fitting in too well. The Kemonoist team is called to help with a situation in one of the prefectures nearby. Emergency responders have already entered the scene attempting to rescue the family members affected only to have one of their comrades attacked by the bedbug type insects. When Inugami, Kabane, Akira (Murase Ayumu), and Shiki (Hanae Natsuki) enter the scene, they attempt to use Shiki’s webbed threads to find the item that triggered the swarm. But instead, it’s Kabane who finds the strength to take on the deadly warm consequently saving the day. As it turns out, the bugs present themselves when there’s an extreme sense of guilt that takes over someone’s emotions. The younger child of the family stole shoes for his mother, simply to help, but the older brother told him off triggering the series of events (the tearjerker moment). In the end, everyone, including the responder, is saved and Kabane commits to working with the Kemonoists in exchange for finding his birth parents.
General Thoughts & Impressions
I think this second episode has truly kickstarted Kabane’s journey. He was essentially brought to a safe haven for Kemono which essentially acts as a foster home for abandoned kemono children. It’s unclear whether there are other members (adult or child) but for the moment, it seems like Inugami is leading a team of three young teenagers and himself. He’ll have his hands full when they hit puberty for sure. Shiki is similar to Kabane in that he’s a hanyo. However, his half-demon side comes from his mother who was an arachne, explaining the powerful threads that come from his fingers. Initially, I thought they’d be unbreakable but the bedbugs proved that theory wrong. Shiki is slightly older than Kabane and asserts himself as the leader as soon as they meet. I interpreted this as a young boy feeling like his status is in jeopardy now that there’s someone around who is as ‘special’ as he is. His attitude shifts quickly as he discovers how much he and Kabane have in common and how much Kabane has yet to learn about the world. They warm up to each other, or at least, Shiki does, even letting him sleep in the shared bedroom with him and Akira.
Kabane still has the emotionless demeanor he carried with him in the first episode and I don’t think this will change much any time soon. He’s not very expressive and there’s no real tell as to whether he’s interested in or indifferent towards his new friends. His experience with kids his age has been quite cold so the warmth (like the pizza scene) he’s experiencing probably isn’t landing or being processed right. There’s a charm to his personality, at the very least a slight advantage. It makes for lighthearted and fun interactions between him and his peers.
I’m referring Akira’s first impression of him. There hasn’t been much shared in regards to Akira aside that he’s a kemono and has feminine qualities and attributes. He’s quite the opposite of Kabane when I think about it. He’s expressive, doesn’t hide his fear, sadness, or joy. He understands self-care whereas Kabane barely knew how to bathe (referring back to the first episode). I think Akira and Shiki, in their own ways, will contribute to Kabane’s growth and his knowledge of the world. He still has much to learn outside of what being a Kemono is. Kabane does have a weakness though. Perhaps weakness is too strong a word for now but he does carry a soft spot, one he’s found since Inugami shared with him that his parents did not in fact abandon him. In helping this struggling family find peace, he’s found the spark to look for his own.
Family and belonging are on Kabane’s mind and there’s no helping the sense that he’s now looking for someone, something to fill the gaping hole he feels. There’s a larger mystery than those Kemonoist will have to solve and Kabane and his necklace are at the centre of it.