A race of cannibal monsters called the Shokujinki exists and it is the job of the Kifuuken, an elite group of beast-hunters, to stop them. Toshihiko Momota, an expert swordsman and son of the Kifuuken organization's leader, unexpectedly falls in love at first sight with a beautiful girl named Yuka; however, the couple's relationship is much more complicated than it seems at first glance, for Yuka is a Shokujinki.
10's all across the board eh? Now I'm going to really have to defend that decision aren't I? This will be interesting because for something like Kemonozume there just aren't adequate words to describe how and what it is.
Story: I almost want to say it's Romeo and Juliet. But....it isn't. It sort of starts out that way, two groups of people who hate and kill each other....but it definitely evolves from there. It's a beautiful love story, the two protagonists go through quite alot...and not just with each other. The blend of characters that contribute to this story were
quite amazing, each character shaping pieces of it as it went along. There were a couple things I saw coming from a mile away, but I wasn't at all disappointed by that, it was beautifully done. It's 13 episodes long, which is a perfect length for something like this. It did kind of slow down near the ends of a couple of the episodes but it was almost always very engaging.
Art: What is there to say about the art? Kemonozume is art. I remember seeing Kemonozume featured on a different site and every single person commented on the art. It does take an open mind to view this. The art is completely sporadic, sometimes it's absolutely barbaric and crude and choppy, while other scenes are beautiful and smooth. But the fact that the art is all over the place makes this a truly memorable anime. I've never seen this art used in any other anime, except for Mind Game. It's incredibly refreshing.
Sound: The entire soundtrack is jazz. I don't know why they chose jazz, considering that it's set in Japan in a relatively recent time peroid....but they decided to go with jazz. And it definitely works. It's all up-tempo stuff and it really does a great job of furthering the mood in this piece. They re-use some of the songs a bunch, and it's cool to see how the same song can be used in a completely different scene and give a completely different feel to it.
Character: They did an amazing job with characters in this anime. Some are kind of cheesy, and contain traits that are a little...stereotypical. The way they made each character interact with each other is great. I could imagine each character as a person, the emotions they exhibited were incredibly real. I found myself genuinely caring about these characters, something that doesn't happen to me as often as I would like it to.
I watched Mind Game, then I decided that since Kemonozume had the same style of art that I would watch it. I'm glad I did that. It's not the kind of animation from Naruto or Gankutsuou or any other kind of anime. Unique, is a more than perfect way to describe this entire anime. There aren't any annoying anime cliches in this. However you have to have an open mind about your anime to watch this. It's not something that can be enjoyed if you're only in to one kind of anime..like Mecha or Shoujo. And if you are interested in watching this, please download Mind Game first, just so you know what you're getting into.
How many times have you accused someone of not having an open mind when they judge your obsession with japanese cartoons, or anime action figures, or 2-D little girls, or whatever? I sure have a few times, yet even my supposedly "open" mind was put to the test right from the very first minutes of Kemonozume.
Its not just about the fugly art, mind you. Weird little monkeys, tower-sized detectives, man-eating monsters that look like right out of some simple children's picture book with their overly round and stubby shapes. I began watching the show all like "dude, finally an artsy and refined piece for such
a mature and elite anime viewer like myself" and ended up almost dropping the show after the first episode. Why? Because it caught me completely off guard and didn't match my usual tastes at all.
Good thing I gathered my wits to go on watching, however, as Kemonozume showed me that "unique" isn't always an euphemism for just plain "shit".
To start with the art of which everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to this show: yes, it's "unique". Yes, in that euphemistic way. But as someone with a way better way with words than me once said, you get used to everything except an icicle up in the ass ('cause it melts before it gets comfy), and such is the way with Kemonozume's art as well. Or perhaps it isn't as much about getting used to the crappy art is it is about realizing it's grotesque genius in this very anime? For just like Kemonozume's story and characters vary in their nature, the art varies from raw, murky, surreal, and sketchy to light, joyful, and truly beautiful.
Character-wise, Kemonozume is a treat for anyone tired of angsty teens all across their usual anime. Not a single character under 20 years of age in this show. The average year count ain't the only mature aspect about the characters either, for the chemistry, dialogue, and interaction they have with each other all clearly depict we're not talking about a middle-school drama here. Instead of the stuttered "I like you" and a hesitant, clumsy peck on the cheek, the two lovers in Kemonozume meet each other on a dark beach, exchange not a word, meet again, and fuck. While perhaps a highly romanticised setting (a beach, a girl literally falling from the sky, and BANG [get it?], love at first sight), it is a rather realistic portrayal of young love's carnal nature.
The story of Kemonozume manages to be both simple and multi-layered at the same time. "Simple" meaning that the viewer can easily grasp what's going on instead of having to endure pointless overphilosophicalpsychologicalwhatevermindfuckshit, whereas the plot's different aspects can be seen how, on one hand, it's a conflicted love story about two people so obviously representing two opposite sides, a story about the characters who all have their own goals and ambitions and trying to find their place in their environment, a story about the distinction between man and monster, and so on. Yet even with all these different sides, Kemonozume's story feels like a whole in which the varying aspects support and fulfill each other instead of annoyingly pulling it into a myriad of ways. Which, in turn, makes the story that much more enjoyable and intriguing, and unlike with many other animes, it doesn't end with a more or less horrendously disappointing conclusion.
Unlike with some of my previous reviews, I think I'm going to skip the part about how unnotable I found the soundtrack and go right to the ending rants. Overall Kemonozume was very much an enjoyable show once the eye got adjusted to the unique artwork and I learned to swallow the mindfuck-ish aspects which I usually hate with vehemence. A fair word of warning here, btw, if you're generally of the same mind and would prefer your anime withOUT any overt surrealism: prepare your...selves. Kemonozume does twist and turn all sorts of laws of physics and logic but worry not, it's not about bombarding you with lame philosophy as much as it's just another aspect of the artwork where, just like in Kemonozume in general, all sort of groundbreaking is abound.
In the very first moments of Kemonozume we learn of a legend about a man rescuing a woman who is to be sacrificed to the gods: when they escape and run off together, the gods are angered and condemn them to feed on the flesh of humans in the form of monsters overwhelmed by bestial rage, lust, and the urge to devour. And so the descendants of these banished lovers live on as Flesh Eaters, some of them choosing to embrace their inner beast, and some choosing to suppress their curse by will alone, retaining their human form and living normal human lives.
here truly begins when Toshihiko, a key member of the Kifuuken, a clan dedicated to the slaughter of these abominations, and Yuka, a Flesh Eater, fall into a tangle of hungry lust with each other — before they know what each other are. When the shit hits the fan the suddenly star-crossed lovers end up on the run, unsure of where to go or what to do, often doubting themselves and struggling to find a way. Together, Toshihiko and Yuka wrestle with their desires and sexuality, their sense of duty and belonging, and having the courage to do what they feel is right.
Ultimately, Kemonozume — like Masaaki Yuasa's own Mind Game — has a very simple thing to say: love and dreams are worth fighting for even in the face of the "maddening, dreamless truth" of reality. Both leave us not with a sense of overwrought tragedy or profound enlightenment, but a reinvigorating affirmation of the importance of living for what we believe in — and perhaps most importantly, they do it with fucking style. The story of Kemonozume is such that could have been told just as easily with vampires or anything less novel than the Flesh Eaters, but instead its creators opt to take a traditional story and a traditional form and approach them in an extraordinarily fresh way.
Yuasa's love of whimsical surrealism and macabre comedy coupled with the raw, emphatically hand-drawn and viscerally expressive style of animation flies in the face of generic anime blandness, particularly in the amazing final episodes. As it becomes increasingly psychedelic, Kemonozume is like a jazz fusion record that spirals into free jazz madness; rock giving way to feedback-driven climax. It's dark, funny, romantically and sexually mature, and wildly stylistic in a way that comes off as improvisational yet intensely focused, perfectly suiting the story and theme.
Note that most of the visual style present throughout the series draws more from a unique impression of manga-style absurdism than from mainstream anime's insular concept of what anime is "supposed to look like" these days (i.e. moéfests galore), and because of the choice to involve a number of different animators the look and feel naturally varies slightly or sometimes shockingly from episode to episode, to subtly kaleidoscopic effect. Again, this allows for audacious imagery that parallels the vision behind this story, and its characters' quest to redefine the way of things and what is acceptable.
The music, too, suits the theme here, presenting a mixture of crazed jazz and swinging fusion reminiscent of Cowboy Bebop's timeless soundtrack.
If you have an affinity for fresh, exciting, mature, and daring forms of expression, for love and dreams that shred through all misfortune and the crushing banality of those in power, Kemonozume is for you.
I'm looking over all these reviews, the majority giving this anime 9 or 10, and am thinking to myself that it must be some kind of joke. I have watched a good amount of anime and cannot understand how such a bogus-ass anime could garner such high ratings.
This is pretty much a story revolving around humans and their relationship with monsters known as "flesh eaters" who are cursed with an appetite for human beings. The general story starts out pretty solid and interesting - a typical situation in which a person has to choose between his human comrades and
a monster. One would think that it would be pretty hard to botch this tried-and-true plot line. However, this anime manages to turn what could have been a relatively decent story into one of absolute bullshit and nonsense. The episodes turn from engaging and suspenseful to utter crap that simply drags on. By the closing of the series i was forcing myself to hang in there till the end. Good thing it's only 13 episodes. I would stay away from this anime unless you like watching mindless, uninteresting crap pulled out of the director's ass. the only reason i give it a 5 is because the first few episodes were somewhat interesting.
Sticking a paintbrush in my ass and attempting to draw human figures on a canvass would produce a better picture than what would be found in the "art" of Kemonozume. i can understand the artist wanting to create a rushed, violent, and haphazard look to try and match the mood, but not to the point of looking like something out of a 10-year-old's doodling in a school notebook. I for one do not hold art in high regards when judging and anime, but for those who do - I think you will need to be a very "special" person to appreciate this lousy, half-assed artwork.
Sound - 6/10
The sounds and music used are nothing special. They consist of mostly jazz/jazz related music. The music is neither outstanding nor mediocre and sufficiently plays its roll in this uninteresting anime.
Characters - 5/10
The characters in this anime are adequately interesting. However, many of the main characters are very inconsistent in their behaviors, ideas, and actions. It isnt really clear why some actions are carried out by some characters. Many of the actions seemed to be pulled out of the director's ass in order to boringly further the plot. None of the characters appealed to me or stood out as is usually the case in animes/mangas.
Enjoyment - 3/10
The beginning of the anime gave me the idea that i would be in for a decent ride. However, the episodes/series turned to crap as they became filled with a third rate plot; shitty, pointless, weird ass sex scenes; and lame fight scenes. This anime was a struggle to finish.
The only reason i can think of for the various high scores given to this anime is that people fall for the third-class plot line that tries too hard to be deep and philosophical. People also probably find this anime "artsy" for its use of jazz and broken-looking drawings. It is a shame that in its attempt to be philosophical and mature, this anime turned out to be inconsistent with a plot full of holes.
We are mostly all here to watch anime and read manga, but there is plenty more in Japanese fiction that we can take advantage of. Here is a primer on modern Japanese literature and novels translated to English that anime fans should consider reading.