“Ajin” is the “Batman: Arkham Knight” (PC) of anime.
This show is broken. The show visually assaults your eyes. Visuals are important in visual entertainment. Dismissing visuals in visual entertainment is like dismissing food at a restaurant. You may be influenced to go somewhere because the service rocks, but you won’t go if the food is horrible. The visuals are incompetent at best. I’m going to put this in terms that many people on this site will understand. Some gaming companies restrict games to 30 frames per second (FPS) because they want their game to be more “cinematic”. People complain that games below 30 FPS is
not suitable for many games. Frame rates under 30 FPS is regarded as a sign of lacking quality. “Ajin” took this concept of low frames as being cinematic and ran with it. They tried to be super cinematic with frame rates dipping below 10 FPS. In scientific terms, this does not even pass the critical flicker fusion frequency. Human eyes/brains register 24 FPS as a fluid motion. Movies are usually shot in 24 FPS and repeat frames to synthesize a 30 FPS motion. Please have the courtesy of doing a little research and finding out what the bare minimum is for entertainment targeted for humans. This is the first time I have ever had a headache after watching something. The manga has more frames per second than this horrible adaptation.
The show is so horribly animated that the studio acknowledges their professional impotence. I’m not talking about how the 5th episode is deservedly named “Trash”. Although in that episode Satou regenerated an arm, pulled his arm out from under him, and shot a dude in a literal 1 frame. In chapter 19 of the manga, Satou was supposed to fly a plane into the building. They knew they couldn’t animate an airplane smoothly so they gave us a different alternative. We got an explosion and Satou riding the building down. The concept of him riding the building down was legit, but it is wrong. People will argue that the animators were being sympathetic towards Americans by not showing the plane like how Pokémon did, but there is another scene where the animators pushed the action out of the scene. Earlier in the series, a train hit a car and pushed the car out of the frame so they could blow the car up without having to animate it. There was a helicopter that blew up off screen because effort is too much to ask for. If the animators cared about their “art” they would not allow the “please buy our DVD/Blu-ray” halfway through every episode. This ad goes on for a full minute and takes up nearly half the screen. There are reasons that this advertisement doesn’t show up in other shows. Any self-respecting animator would be outraged by the blanketing of their animation. People try to defend CG when it is poorly executed in shows they like, but that is being a zealot. Quality doesn’t have sacrificed because the animation style is being experimented with. Over 2 decades ago Aardman Animation, the studio that brought us the British anime “Wallace and Gromit”, has made clay move far smoother than CG because Aardman Animation actually cares about their work and puts time into their art.
The show does deserve some credit. The orchestrated pieces are put perfectly in place. I like Japanese Justin Timberlake in the intro song. The creators of this show are probably good with the ladies, because the mood is set for every scene. Satou is a great bad guy. He wants the world to burn and he has a great personality. You understand his rage and malcontent with how humans have treated him and he wants back at them. The show is best when Satou is around. The story is awesome. Everyone who has seen the anime or read the manga will agree that the story is cool. Corrupt government, explosions, stands (black ghosts), and Satou are all great things to have in a storyline. Great job on the story for knowing who is interesting and when they are interesting. Most people watch stuff for the main character, but Kei takes a backseat in the story so the show can focus on the larger issues.
In the end, the show is a failure. Polygon Pictures horribly executed an adaptation. It is ambitious to animate humans with CG and the studio is not technically adept enough to execute smooth motion with it. Polygon Pictures joins the ranks of the garbage studios. Studio Deen, Idea Factory, and even KOO-KI could make this show better than Polygon Pictures. It makes me sad that the promotional videos for the new “Berserk” anime will also look like an unfinished project. Guts, if he were real, would bitch slap all those animators in the face with “Dragonslayer” for disgracing the well-deserved number 1 rated manga on this site. Real fans hold standards to their favorite series. If the anime does the manga justice, you should love and cherish it. When they fail at it, the fans should voice their disappointed opinions. Fans do not change their profile picture to a character from the show while rating and reviewing the show at a 10 when they have only seen 4 episodes of the series.
"Don't judge a book by its cover": a metaphorical phrase that I'm sure many of us are familiar with, being one that has long transcended both generational and ethnic background to be used across the globe. A phrase that has taken on several reiterations depending on the time period and linguistics of the land, but still maintains the same direct message. It's simple, to the point and always relevant when entering the world of any storytelling medium. As much as many of us would like to think, that we could quickly discern the contents of a show simply off of the art cover
and synopsis, there are times when we are all proven wrong.
Take the outward appearances of Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica and Gakkougurashi! for example. Both titles display an outer shell that could be described as innocent or even a bit too cloying upon first encounter. Had any veteran anime viewer taken a glance at them with no prior knowledge, it could be easy to understand if they had fallen for the façade. When any viewer becomes accustomed to familiarized signs in certain anime they've experienced before, it isn't out of character for complacency to kick in.
Whether we want to or not, past experiences tend to lead to some subconscious rewiring of expectations for certain content we perceive later on. It's how we refine our viewing habits and why we tend to avoid certain things that set off red flags in our heads due to unsavory experiences. It's a primal reaction our ancestors had to avoid danger and one we adopted for more trivial things, like avoiding shows that aren't within our favor. It's a habit with polarizing results, but still, an understandable one we all share in one way or another.
And if one were to glance at the outward appearance of Ajin, I'm sure the prenotion to quickly judge it would take hold. With promotional art and a premise that seem to enforce the trappings of a typical bishounen action romp, it isn't hard to see why that knee-jerk reaction to label it would occur. But what we see on the outside, and what we actually get, is a whole other story. While Ajin may pattern itself to shows of that caliber, it quickly deviates from the tropes associated with it to become something far more promising. This anime is a book that screams one thing while the pages on the inside reveal another.
The story takes place in a fictional universe where humanity stumbled upon the discovery of a new sub-species of beings dubbed the Ajin. Having the appearance of regular humans, the Ajins are thought to be immortal, while also possessing several supernatural abilities. Due to their documented cases' being extremely rare, they quickly become subjects of superstition. But all that changes when a resurgence of the species occurs in modern day Japan, bringing with it a public frenzy that leads us into the narrative that unfolds before us today.
What we have here is a fundamental case of man vs 'allegorical' man, something many of us is familiar with, whether we're aware of it or not. Every time there's a story that pits opposing ideals of beings capable of human-level thought, (whether that be man or beast), it follows the man vs man conflict. This isn't always limited to one conflict either, as multiple topics tend to branch out from its inception, as demonstrated with movies like Dances With Wolves, or Cameron's Avatar, for the modern viewing audience. It's the tale of societal discrimination and xenophobic rejection of anything that doesn't align with someone's own principal. These are the stories that advocate awareness by providing social commentary with the human condition used as a platform.
And these common tales are no stranger to the world of anime. You don't have to look far, with titles such as Parasyte and Shinsekai Yori adhering to this traditional narrative. Both of which serve as ambassadors in anime's ability to craft this tale just as effectively as anything found on the silver screen. But despite the commonality of these stories, it's still one that's easily botched when handled without finesse, with titles such as Tokyo Ghoul and Terra Formars being testaments to that fact. Thankfully, Ajin isn't a case of the latter, although I do hesitate to place it on the caliber of the aforementioned that did this narrative well. If I had to give a comparative evaluation, I'd say it finds itself somewhere comfortably in the middle. While not as fleshed out as Shinsekai Yori or as multifaceted as Parasyte, Ajin still manages to hold its own. Instead of letting the subject matter marinate in the subconscious of the viewer, Ajin makes swift actions to drive home the message quickly it wishes to convey. This gives room for a narrative that's constantly in motion, which is ideal for those seeking immediate results. And while this to-the-point approach may leave many of its concepts explored only on a surface level, it still allows for a more consumable binge-watching experience. It prioritizes thrills over thematic pondering, which makes it more accessible to a broader market. This also makes Ajin a good gateway for those who want just to get their toes wet with heftier concepts, but aren't quite ready to dive in. It sprinkles in commentary about our current populace's desensitized state, as well as touching upon ethical treatment taken by governing bodies. It does just enough to whet the appetite of the viewer and add flavor to its narrative. And for those who want just a little bit extra with their action, this might just be all that's needed. But despite that fact, there's still a barrier of entry for those willing to crack the spine of this anime, and that, of course, is the use of 3DCG animation as opposed to traditional style.
Deciding to use 3DCG, similar to that of Knights of Sidonia, was probably the biggest deterrent for those who saw past the generic premise and appearance. And in all honesty, just hearing of this news alone was probably the reason many overlooked this title altogether. Yes, the presentation can take some getting use to for viewers who don't find it aesthetically appealing, but for those not bothered by the occasional 'uncanny valley effect', the show remedied this problem better than most. Unlike Knights of Sidonia, the individual movements here show far more mobility. The soundtrack, composed of Gothic organs, booming 'Hans Zimmer' fog horn sections, heavy guitar riffs and more, also helps in compensating in places where the animation found itself lacking. It might not be by much for viewers who are bothered by even the thought of CGI, but it certainly made it a far more palatable experience for those that could see beyond that.
The fights that occurred throughout the series weren't reduced to two people smashing fists with no rational thought but are rather tactical bouts where Ajins and humans alike use their strengths and weaknesses against each other. Even with the clear advantage given to the Ajins, the human opposition still found many clever ways of exploiting their strengths by using it against them. This was also the case for when Ajins clashed among themselves. The show went into a decent amount of detail in explaining the body mechanics of the Ajins as well as the extent of their abilities. And the more an Ajin was aware of its abilities, the better it was at utilizing it in and outside the battlefield.
But perhaps the most apparent demonstration of the show's deviation from its inherent trappings can be found with the main characters themselves. In order to avoid turning this into a long-winded analysis, I'll go over only the two prominent characters highlighted throughout the show. They were far from being the most fully realized characters of the 2016 Winter season (that honor resides with Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu); however, they were still far removed from the cookie-cutter lineup that would come standard-fare with these stories. And what they may have lacked in development, they more than made up for with their distinct personality traits and interactions. They're simple, but at the same time, subjects who would make for interesting, if only brief, character studies.
Take, for example, our main character, Kei Nagai. The first defining trait he exhibits immediately separates him from the atypical wide-eyed idealist, or the hot-blooded teen that come almost default with his role. Instead of a rehashed archetype with only a different coat of paint to define him, what we get is a selfish misanthrope who places his own self-preservation and needs above others. Whether he had to be deceptive or fake empathy to weasel his way out of trouble territory isn't of concern to him. There are no delusions of grandeur festering in his mind, he is very much aware of the extent of his capabilities, as well as his amoral standing with the world around him. And while not quite being pegged as a nihilist, he doesn't place trust in anything that isn't an irrefutable truth. Kei Nagai is a teen whom we've either seen or were at one point in our lives, which makes him one of the most honest depictions of this age group in some time. Unless he's given a feasible or self-beneficial option to assist someone, he will not go out of his way to aid them if it means placing his own life in harms way. Anything outside of that is merely done out of forced guilt or social obligation. This underrepresented type of character makes him far from your garden variety, and as a result, an intriguing one to follow.
And as much as some of us would like to take the moral high road in response to other people's suffering, the truth is most of us don't acknowledge it with any kind of substantial sympathy. And it's for this reason that our protagonist becomes not only well-depicted but also easily identifiable for our modern society. Now this isn't to say some won't find his actions deplorable; there are certainly lots of people out there with a strong moral fiber, but his personality and actions are properly documented for the audience to understand his psyche, regardless of one's own personal ethics. He isn't going to fulfill the role of any white-knight advocate anytime soon, but in the context of the story he's placed in, his personality is tailor-made for the current social climate.
And while Kei Nagai retains the main character role, the true star of the series was none other than Satou. Satou, also nicknamed "The Hat" by officials, is quite the enigmatic figure. With a hospitable, soft-spoken demeanor upon initial contact, he brings with himself an aura of accumulated wisdom, but lurking just below the surface of his thinly veiled smile lies a man with a very twisted moral compass. Like the hybrid of a cunning old fox and someone akin to that of Magneto from the X-men franchise, there's nothing he won't do in order to reach his intended goal. While wanting for the betterment of his Ajin brethren, the path he takes to get there is paved with the blood of opposition and bystanders alike, all while sadistically reveling in the madness he brews up. He's a charismatic demon in sheep's clothing, a man who nonchalantly goes about his business with no sign of remorse, which is made all the more menacing given his weathered age. Any youth can demonstrate raw ferocity towards someone, but it's the carefully calculated approach of a much older man that strikes fear into the officials in this series. Satou, for all intents and purposes, is the show's undisputed badass, a title he more than lives up to.
Another character worth briefly addressing was Yuu Tosaki, an official who balances out the opposing ideals of Satou and Kei. He's your "all business no pleasure" kind of detective who is given the task to apprehend the Ajins at any means necessary. While he came across as one note in the beginning, that is later alleviated with the reveal of his motivation. Outside of Yuu Tosaki, the rest of the secondary characters aren't fleshed out to any extent, but they are given distinct enough personality traits to make their inclusion warranted. All in all, the characters, whether important or minor, helped in bringing the world and conflict to life.
This title proves that even action shows can have some level of thought and planning placed into them. It never tried to be something far more than what it was and performed well with the material it had to work with. For those thinking that this would be just another bishounen-cock-fight title, I implore you to discard that premature notion and give this show a try.
There was never a dull moment with this anime. With a plot that continued to push forward and main characters that constantly kept me on the edge of my seat, I found a great deal of enjoyment here. Satou's actions alone were more than enough for me. While the art was a bit off-putting at times, I still walked away satisfied. In terms of quality, it's somewhere between Tokyo Ghoul and Parasyte. If TG were McDonalds and Parasyte were a 5-star restaurant, then Ajin would be your local diner.
Ajin was a show that could have easily dissipated under the weight of its own premise but managed to hold up incredibly well. With narrative choices and thoughtful insight that demonstrated a level of competency lacking in similar titles, Ajin has proven to be a show worth the initial investment. And with everything being taken into consideration, Ajin has become one of the few documented cases of "edgy shounen" done right.
Ajin- What Tokyo Ghoul Wanted to Be... and failed miserably at!
Ajin- also the most unfairly ignored series of Winter 2016. There, it's been said. If you were one of the few people who can see past a childish, baseless, and unwarranted dislike of 3D CGI based anime on principle- good for you, because Ajin delivers a quality sci-fi/superpower tale, regardless of the form it's rendered in.
Because it's first on everyone's mind- the first thing to address here is the animation. Yes, 3D CGI can be scary. We've all seen monstrosities of bad animation like the ASS dragon from Fate Stay Night, the original Ghost
in the Shell SAC, Absolute Duo, and many others. Yes, we're all fully aware of how ugly that plastic shader looks. To that end, Ajin can be ugly- and the worst part is the framerate, which is very sluggish at times and drags the visual experience down. However, for a show that was rendered entirely in 3D, this is not the end of the world. The majority of it is very easy to watch and flows well- and given the dark subject material, how it's cast in a washed out, at some points almost grayscale color scheme, but the few bright moments seem brighter by comparison in an otherwise pretty dreary show.
The next thing I feel led to discuss are the comparisons to Tokyo Ghoul that I alluded to in the title. The subject matter here is quite similar, only with Ajin taking a step toward realism and making good on its threats, minus the terrible teen angst and melodrama. See, the Ajin are a small group of humans who have the ability to regenerate their bodies upon dying. No matter how gruesome their injuries, they always come back to life in a few seconds- making them almost entirely invincible. Because they're also human, they have similar fallibility to crippling, choking, or otherwise being incapacitated. To further complicate matters, they're also able to summon an invisible, (to everyone who is not an Ajin) but humanoid black specter which can be used as a proxy and controlled remotely- to do combat, spy, whatever. The catch is that they can only use this once or twice per day, before needing to regenerate.
The Ajin are, because of the actions of one man named Satou, hunted by the government- resulting in a sort of class warfare, the nearly invincible Ajin VS the police and special agents whose job it is to control knowledge of and movements of the Ajin- all deemed a national threat from the terroristic operations of the murderous Satou- a broken psychopath with para-military training who exists for no purpose other than to incite fear and shock into the populace of Japan through killing- which he thoroughly enjoys.
However much this story may be about Satou though, the main character he is not.
Kei Nagai, a student who reminds me a lot of Light Yagami, albeit with a much more human mind and cold streak, is involved in a bus accident walking home from school. Smeared on the ground along with his life blood and organs, and dead- this black smoke appears from his body and a crackling sound is heard. Kei sits up, clothes torn from grinding along the road underneath the bus- very alive. Kei recognizes immediately that he's an Ajin, and that his life has just changed dramatically- most likely for the worst. His friends freak out, and then there's a knock at the door. Kei recognizes that it's time to go, and he, who just wants to live quietly and away from the Ajin madness, takes off on the run. Kei is, and shows that he's different from many superpower shonen main characters in that he's a very calculating, cold person. He's not afraid to use anyone or anything in his path if he sees it as a means to get ahead, and through this, he manages to slip under the radar, even if it costs him his friends and family, his force of will and intellect are what keep him alive after the government gets on his scent.
See, the world of Ajin is built up very well from the beginning, featuring students in school gossiping about this viral video, supposedly featuring an Ajin being murdered over and over by shady government officials. We later see news broadcasts with the names of suspected Ajin and recognize that there's a very large gap of information missing to the public about what they really are. This introduction (in a realistic way) of the public intrigue is very natural feeling, and sets the stage for a socio-political facet to the show later on, with government coverups and information war.
On this note, it should be noted that this show really pushed the envelop of gritty content, at least in recent memory, especially in how it presents some of the violent acts. It's never my place to spoil anything, but suffice to say that Satou takes some very drastic and destructive measures (all within the realm of reality, mind you) to make Japan very aware of his presence and the threat he poses as both an Ajin and terrorist. Likewise, the story does a great job of making everything very morally gray, with abuses of power by the government and shrewd manipulations by Satou to shift the public opinion of the ignorant masses towards the plight of the Ajin.
As a dark, engaging, and interesting shonen, Ajin is definitely one of the more memorable of the genre in recent memory. It took many of the themes that Tokyo Ghoul had breadth in, and then gave them depth. Where Tokyo Ghoul was afraid to take steps, or just completely missed steps, especially with its characters, we have much stronger motivation and reaction from the characters here. The plot advances in a way that can be followed, but not in the most predictable fashion, with a couple of genuinely shocking scenes to boot. Though this 13 episode series doesn't completely wrap up the story (that will be left to a sequel movie sometime later this year, a la Madoka Magica), it ends on a satisfying enough note that I wasn't perturbed by its somewhat abrupt ending. I'm willing to give this my stamp of approval, and even go so far as to say that it's the unsung anime of the season for staying true to what it began, not pulling any punches, and remaining consistently good throughout its run- something no other show from this past season can claim.
It’s pretty much like a horror movie. Ajin uses a lot of ideas borrowed from horror lecture and fiction. These include ancient monsters (the Ajins), government hunting them down, and a dark story about how a young man’s life changing forever after getting involved with them. Based on the manga of the same name, Ajin is more or less a thrilling story.
To clear things up straight, there’s actually a film trilogy as well based on this series. The second and third film has yet to be released (at the time this review was written). The TV anime adaptation reflects on a deeper storytelling with
some additional aspects. Although based on the first film, the TV anime adaptation still remains largely unchanged. The story begins with a young man named Kei Nagai. He is living in a world where Ajin exist, demi-humans that have existed almost 17 years ago first found in Africa. They are considered a world wonder as many people fear them yet also consider them very special. This is where Kei’s story comes in as he realizes that he is far from normal.
I have to admit, the show was rather predictable at first. The first few episodes heavily hints that there’s something wrong with Kei and that his connection with the Ajin runs deeper than he thinks. It turns into a cat-and-mouse game scenario where police, government, and other individuals are after him. Even his friends betray him so that they can reap the awards of capturing an Ajin. The only ally he has at first is Kaito, a delinquent friend that he’s known from school. But truthfully, the reality is that the only person he can trust is himself. As the story progresses, we see the darker side of humanity and Kei himself even undergoes changes. It’s not made specifically clear though if he was always cold or became more aware afterwards. Either way, the show explores his character in ways that drastically contrasts with his personality when first introduced. The interesting part about Kei also shows what it really means to survive. In their world, it’s to kill or be killed because apparently, being captured by the government pretty much guarantees death. Don’t believe me? Just ask science.
As a dark story, the characters in this series also explores the darker side of what humans are capable of. Scientists at facilities are tasked with discovering the secrets of Ajin and immorality so test subjects are usually tortured for information and data. Then, there are noticeable characters like Satou who strives to do anything to get what he wants including killing innocents with little value of human life. The question makes us wonder who the real monsters are: Ajin or humans like him. Even Kei’s sister seems to have forsaken him as she thinks him as a monster. Satou’s ambition to rule the country with his twisted goals also makes him a cruel sociopath with intelligence and resources. In ways, he is somewhat similar to Kei as both lacks empathy to kill and unafraid to die. Both are also quite reckless in their actions as well and often willing to take risks to get what they need. As the story progresses, other characters including those willing to participate in terrorism are introduced in the series to really show how twisted some humans can be.
As you may have guessed by now, the show isn’t very much for the lighthearted. There’s little to no room for comedy and the story itself is not afraid to kill of characters at the click of its fingers. There’s hardly any humans that we can feel sympathy for throughout the show as well. Even Tosaki and his assistant Izumi can be hard to get attached to as they are active members to track down Ajins. So in essence, it should be recognizable that the show is hard to get people to like its characters. I think the only character that can be considered a valuable friend would be Kaito. He is selfless and often takes daring risks to help out others including putting his own life at stake to help out Kei. Unfortunately, he is perhaps just a very small part of kindness in their dark world. Meanwhile, the show pushes the idea of humans capable of being the real monsters. The downside is that it’s what we see mostly on paper rather than a deeper insight on their characters. The manga does a better job at adapting characterization such as with characters like Satou.
Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of the CGI artwork of the show at first. Polygon Pictures helms the show with their production and it’s evident that they utilizes what they are capable of. However, I think the CGI works quite well in the end. Action remains fluid and more detailed with Ajins’ fighting capabilities. It also gives them a more terrifying appearance with added aesthetics such as special effect particles. The character designs seems more or less average though. But if you’re looking for violence, Ajin excels exactly at doing what it is and that’s showing delivering bloodshed.
Soundtrack is effective and as the show progresses, it gets more noticeable especially during more tense moments. For most of the story, we have to remember that Kei is running away from society as people seek to capture him. The OST and music works effectively to showcase the story of this cat-and-mouse game scenario. Adding to the eerie music, we also get good voice acting like with Satou’s sadistic and sarcastic personality. Kei’s change also becomes noticeable as his voice mannerism becomes more cold and lack of empathy. The show also does a neat job with both the OP and ED theme too with stellar choreography.
What to expect from Ajin in the end? A more compressed story that exploits the darker side of humanity. It’s a series that isn’t exactly fun to watch if you’re not a fan of cruel experimentation, government conspiracies, and betrayals. However, the show does a fairly good job at telling its story. Despite some lack of characterization, Ajin handles its themes well and keeps the viewers at their seats to anticipate what’s to come next. Every episode expands more on the story while focusing on the most important elements. For anyone who is interested in some supernatural horror fiction, this is definitely something to look out for. And to be honest, it’s quite a thrill.
What would you do if you have been arrested and tortured over and over again for being who you are?
That's one of the questions that Ajin implicitly poses.
Besides discrimination, it also touches in several other very interesting matters like terrorism, corruption and the human nature.
It has an extremely charismatic "villain", I put "" because you can't be sure if he is the bad guy or are the good guys, the government and the police, the ones that are wrong. (In my opinion the latter is the right answer and the villain should just kill them all!)
I love animes with this ambiguity, like Death Note,
Shinsekai Yori, Psycho Pass and Kiseijuu-Parasite.
It also has some of the best action scenes I've ever seen in over 800 anime, and the most over the top terrorist atack ever!
Summing all up, it is one of the best animes of all time.
Ohh Ajin, hahaha... where do I start this great anime.
Well, let's just start, with, Yeah, the CGI is cringy to watch as f*** according to those watchers who've seen Ajin. But, boy oh boy, the story is a Roller Coaster ride filled with twists who is the real villain at the first half of this anime, to the another twists if the protagonist is a hero or an anti-hero.
I can't help myself on how this anime reminds me of "Tokyo Ghoul", both have to face their fate on how they die and how they survive in the process, how they learn that they have powers
to revive themselves, and how they we're tortured. However, comparing to TG's Kaneki Ken and Ajin's Nagai Kei, Kei's character here is somewhat dreadful and reveals that he's the worst guy as the protagonist of this story. According to the characters that are affiliated with Kei, he's a trash and he doesn't care anyone for himself. That's why in this anime, Kei is cold-blooded and doesn't care anything and anyone surrounds him. But that everything changes when he left home after learning he's an Ajin, saving the ones who tortured him and bumping to an old lady. But still keeping his rotten personality until a little development change within him over the next half of the anime.
The plot here is kinda messy, at first I was like, "Who's the REAL bad guys here? Is it the government or the rebels?" and the second one was like "Is Kei a Bad guy or a good guy?" A lot of questions are circulating here in this anime, which is why I felt curious until I find the answers there few episodes later. As a matter of fact, I kinda like how the story goes, including how messy it is and then put it one by one like a jigsaw puzzle until it completely clears the picture why and how they do it. It's a mystery anime, and this is what I was looking for all this time! I really do like this kind of stuff, and this one is, without a doubt, a GOOD STUFF! Also, the action, BY GAWD the action is pretty intense too! Especially how the man with the hat named Satou delivers a good blow against the Police during the terror attacks.
As a whole, Ajin is a pretty piece of action anime that you surely need to watch out for. The action is pretty great and the plot was fantastic! It might be sound biased, but you should try it out and see it for yourself. Especially if you're a fan of action and mystery anime. Nevermind the CGI arts or whatnot. The plot here is pretty interesting to say the least. So go get it NOW!
Before I actually start this review, I dropped this show after the first episode because the art work was cringe worthy and I felt like I was watching frames skip consistently. HOWEVER, a friend talked me into trying to watch it again and I succeeded in finishing the world of Ajin.
Story (5/10): There's nothing revolutionary here, not that we really need anything so. We're put into a world that is simply Human vs. Ajin, you've seen it before in Tokyo Ghoul, Attack on Titan and the like, but what we have is something a little different. Unlike in Tokyo Ghoul where we're told the
ghouls are evil because X, Y and Z we learn that the Ajin are being used as bait for other reasons later described in the series, watch it to find out.
Art (5/10): This at first, was the big deal changer for me but as I watched further I grew used to the style and it became very unnoticeable that I was watching pretty poor CG. However, there were certain scenes, mainly those containing IBM which impressed me, but those weren't frequent enough to warrant a decent score.
Sound (7/10): Quite possibly the best part of the this show was the OST, disregarding the OP and ED for moment I have to say that the tone of each scene was set very well between the OST and the emotions of the characters. For the OP and ED, both of them were very catchy and better animated than the show themselves. (I would seriously mistake the ending for a Monogatari ending had I not seen all of the Monogatari EDs).
Character (3/10): My personal opinion is that the characters are the weakest part of this show. Every character is just so one-dimensional it's insane. Kei is your crybaby turned hero because he realizes that his IBM is useful, Kaito is....well nonexistant for half the show. Obligatory bad guy is evil, obligatory government officials don't care and want the job done however they can get it done. Obligatory one person in government that is like the enemy. The most interesting character was Kei's sister, as she seemed to be the ONLY character who had any kind of progression (even if it was slight). As much as I rag these characters I will admit, Kei was a very smart individual for what he sought to accomplish within the 13 episodes. His attitude is warranted at times but at other times seems out of place.
Enjoyment (5/10): As I said, this show is nothing revolutionary and it's art style may be the make or break for some people. I found a lot of the enjoyment of the show came when the IBMs were on screen or Kei was in any kind of danger, other than that I didn't really care about much else going on. Mainly due to the characters being so generic.
Overall (5/10): Overall, I would say writing this show off due to it's art style is the first mistake you can make. While it's not the cream of the crop of these kinds of shows, you do miss on some pretty well done fight scenes even if they are in CG. The soundtrack as I mentioned was pretty good and everyone will have their own opinions. Seriously though, if art is the only thing deterring you from this anime, at least try to overlook that and give it a shot and see what you think.
In fiction, threats to humanity usually end in one of two ways. Either humanity bands together to wipe out the threat out of fear, or humanity gets taken over the threat and lives in fear trying to protect themselves and their very survival. In many shapes and forms, this concept has appeared in anime from Parasyte, to Attack on Titan, and all sorts of other shows that tackle similar concepts. And today, we have Ajin, a show that once again throws this idea at us again, this time with people that are unkillable. Oy vey, just kill me now for this
Story: Nagai Kei is a boy who lives in a world with beings known as 'Ajin'. Ajin are rare being with the unexplainable powers to regenerate their entire bodies and can essentially cheat death as they can revive indefinitely. No one really knows why the Ajin are around, except the fact that these beings are considered a threat to humanity, so on and so forth. After being run over by a truck (Oh Truck-san), he and the rest of his town find out that Kei is an Ajin, and as such, sends this child into a whole new world where he is now hunted down for being a threat to humanity, despite really not doing anything.
The Ajin anime is more or less supposed to be a prologue to the Ajin movies that're supposed to be made later on this year. True to its role, this anime plays out as a series that gives you information, but at the same time, withholds a lot of the story in order to keep viewer interest. Now this here creates the biggest problem of this anime, information. Ajin suffers a severe lack of information to the point that the series creates plot holes rather than mysteries. A lot of the series revolves around the three players in this game of government and Ajin chess that has a lot missing pieces by the end of the series. They hint a lot as to why each side does what they do, and their respective opinions on Ajin and what role Ajin should play in the world, but never give us concrete reasons as to why they choose the side that they do.
In addition, the events of the story are just really boring and confusing. The first four episodes follow a chase scene. Literally, it's just a chase scene. That is not exciting. Plus, the show switches to the three sides back and forth all the time, giving bits and pieces of the events of each respective side, and it's hard to keep track with what each side is really doing, especially since most of the the series is just discussion on the 'next plan' with only a couple scenes max of actual plan execution.
In the end, Ajin is just a prologue that doesn't give us enough information to create interest for the series. There aren't many reasons to explain why the characters have the opinions they do, there isn't well enough pacing to fully explain or understand why such an event happens sometimes, and the series ends with a 'read the manga/watch the movies' ending, which is understandable for this series in particular since it IS a prologue, but after seeing the anime, I have NO interest to see any more of this trainwreck.
- Terrible Pacing
- Lack of character motivation
- Choppy transitions from character perspective
- Stories intentionally left incomplete to the point of plot holes
Characters: As mentioned before, Ajin has three separate factions that each have their own 'leader' and set of underlings. Just to get it out of the way, the 'underlings' as I will dub them are really plot-related and hold little to no worth in the series. Sure, some of them do, but they're quickly forgotten, and are more or less forgettable since either our 'leader' characters just dispose of them, or they're just mindless tools at their disposal.
Up first is our newest member of the Ajin, Nagai Kei. Kei is a very conflicting character from beginning to end. He is explained to be a very emotionless and uncaring chaotic neutral sociopath who only sees opportunities to use people for his own benefit than give two shits about them. Now as a concept, this is interesting, as he's not your typical 'positive' protagonist who wants to 'save everyone' with his powers but instead only wants to use his newfound abilities to his own benefit and existence. Now this comes with a duo of conflicting aspects. The first of which is the fact that he exhibits human emotions. At times, Kei has bouts of actually giving a shit about people, and while that does instill some character growth, it comes off as some unexplained motives that as expected, don't do anything towards his character as a whole. He goes right back to his sociopathic mood and the series more or less pretends that what he has done is unimportant. In addition, Kei himself doesn't really have a motive. The series doesn't explain what his plan is or what he does, and writes him in to more or less sit on the sidelines and wait for something to happen from the other two factions before springing into action. He doesn't feel like he has any worth in this series, and for your supposed main character, this is a deadly mistake.
Then there's Tosaki, the sort of 'lawful good' character that the series has as the one in charge for 'killing' or 'taking care' of Ajin. His whole character is wrapped around his sheer hatred for the Ajin, and his motivation for as to WHY he hates Ajin is very incomplete. We get one scene to hint as to why he hates Ajin, but it's a very generic hint that doesn't give any specifics. Sure, you can speculate, but at the same time, it's really lazy writing because even with that piece of information in mind, he just goes "Kill Ajin, Kill Ajin, Kill Ajin", so on and so forth. He's one-dimensional and bland.
And then finally, Satou, the experienced Ajin who plays the Chaotic Evil side to this equation. Satou is insane, very, very, very insane. He is insane to the point that there is no reason to explain as to why he is insane or how he became so messed up, and there's nothing beyond that. His motives, like the other two, are missing as well. Why does he want to commit genocide? For fun? Why does he say he wants to rule the country at the end? What's his reason? There're a lot of holes to Satou's character that don't add up. The show makes it seem like there's more reason to him doing that than just wanting to cause mayhem, but they don't tell you or even allude to it. He's just "Rah! I'm an Ajin! I'mma make ya'll dead!" before laughing manically as he stands atop a falling building cause he can't die. Crazy characters like this are cool and nice, but without any rhyme or reason as to why they are crazy, there's no point in giving a crap about them.
All in all, characters are...incomplete. Their sheer lack of any kind of motive makes it so that there is no one to root for. There is honestly no reason to care about anyone since you don't know or understand the reasons for their actions. Personally, I think the characters are more or less the biggest problem of this series more so than the story, and I could not care any less about them since as a viewer, I don't know WHO THEY ARE.
- Horrendously lacking in character and motivation
- Side cast are plot-related and largely unimportant
Art: Polygon Pictures and their CGI came into the picture when animating Ajin, and personally, I'll put my own two cents out there, I despise this animation wholeheartedly. I don't like complete CGI anime. (Keep in mind, this part is a personal opinion, not me seriously critiquing the animation.)
Like Knights of Sidonia, Polygon Pictures comes to Ajin with their signature style of CGI animation with CGI rendered characters in a more or less hand-drawn setting. The issue that comes with this style of animation comes with complications within the final product. My problem with this comes more or less in the final few episodes of Ajin. The rendering of the characters started to look choppy and the movement wasn't as fluid as it was previously. In addition, there're some mouth movements and specifically facial expressions that looked nightmarish and just sort of awkward to look at. Definitely not Polygon Picture's best work.
+/- Polygon Pictures (This is depending on your take of the CGI artstyle.)
- Lower quality towards the end of the series
Sound: In terms of music, the OP of Ajin is...actually one of, if not the one thing about this series that I genuinely liked. The OP is this dark and foreboding action rock song that's at least to me, really nice to listen to. It's not all that special in terms of memorabilia so it's more or less an acquired taste the way I see it. The ED is a skippable track that really holds no worth. I wouldn't care to listen to it again, since it just doesn't come off as an enjoyable song. Nice visuals though.
Personal Enjoyment: Ah, Ajin. When I first heard about you, I admit that I had a relatively decent amount of intrigue. But after hearing how your entire animation was CGI, ooo, that was a kicker. And yet, I persevered. As the episodes kept rolling by, I'll be honest with you, I wanted to kill myself while watching this series, only to revive again when another episode came by, before killing myself all over again!
Did I like this anime?
Needless to say, I hated it. I had no clue, ZERO CLUE, as to what precisely was going on. Sure, there was the general plotline, but there were so many underlying things happening in the works that I did not care for this series. There are actually a total of 4-5 factions rather than 3 in this series, and they're just barely hinted at to the point I wondered why they even bothered with it in the first place.
What didn't I like about this anime?
Kei, the story, Satou, the animation, Tosaki, the lack of character motivation, basically everything this show had to offer just made me want to claw out my eyes. It was horrendously boring to sit through the characters' discussions and plan their next stage of attack. It was like Death Note, but without actually cool characters, a good story, or intricate plans that made each opposing side want to best each other in a game of mind chess. Rather it was a complete mess that expected people to care about the latter movies that would come out 'explaining' what the series was going to be about which, I'm gonna make a prediction, won't do shit.
Would I recommend this anime?
No. No. Don't do it. This anime is terrible in its execution and only creates confusion in place of actual intrigue. The lack of explanation creates so many plot holes that it becomes infuriating to watch rather than really gripping. I would've liked to enjoy this despite my absolute loathing for complete CGI animation, but this series just gave me no reason to give a damn. My opinion? Skip it.
A surprisingly good anime comparing to what we are getting in these days. I don't know how original the plot is but to me it's completely something new and enjoyable. If you guys are looking for something that will keep you on your toes and got confused time to time, you have found it. I can easily recommend this series.
The characters are complex enough to keep them interesting, especially the antagonist. I can say i favor him more than the main character. Pacing is fine enough, the story is intriguing, action is on the roof, mainly towards the end of the season. Try it
out, you won't regret.
Judging from its current popularity, and how it is ranked, I'd say it is severely underrated at this current time.
I'll first address what most people take fault with in this anime. The art.
Admittedly, when I first started watching, I was put off by the CG animation, as it is not something I am used to. That however is not saying that I didn't quickly warm up to it. The style of animation allows for character movements to be incredibly realistic. I am however willing to admit that the backgrounds could do with some touching up.
The story is engaging, and easy to follow,
but most of all, it is suspenseful. I can't really delve further into that without giving away any spoilers, so I'll just leave it at that.
The sound is excellent. The music in particular really suits the sense of desperation that haunts the main character every step of the way.
As for the characters themselves, they are incredibly interesting and/or likable. The main antagonist, Satou isn't just an average villain, doing things for the sake of being evil. He does things for very understandable reasons. Even Tosaki isn't the average, "big bad government agent." He makes mistakes, and takes things into his own hands to get results, which makes him, like Satou, unique and identifiable. The main character Kei Nagai is also pretty interesting. He isn't your typical generic kind but angsty teen hero. Kei is actually kind of a cold asshole, something that isn't common among anime mains, which is something I found quite refreshing. (Although I know a few people who kind of hate Kei as a result.)
Ajin season 1 kept me on the edge of my seat, and always wanting to know what happens next. I am very glad I watched this, and it is a shame to see that it has slipped under a lot of peoples' radar. It definitely deserves more recognition and I am looking forward to the next season.
This anime was, at first, not really tempting for me because of the art. But I was still pretty interested. This show was my first horror anime. And honestly, this is my favorite anime.
Story: The story is what took the cake for me. The way it was delivered was just amazing and frankly the way they explained everything was very logical. There weren't many plot holes and the ideas were very good.
Art: At first, the art is pretty annoying. Then you get used to it. That's pretty much all I have to say about the art.
Sound/Music: The voice actors were really in character and the
opening fit very well with the show and so did the OST.
Character: The characters were really well thought out and the way they were potrayed by the voice actors was outsanding.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this show and I recommend it to anyone fan of horror anime.
Better animation could not have saved this show. Looking past absolutely terrible graphics, you find a surplus of characters developed so poorly that there is no reason to be invested in the (mediocre) plot whatsoever.
Ajin tries to be a grungy sci-fi about a handful of poorly treated immortals who can control a “black ghost” or IBM. Unfortunately, the main character, whose name I have already forgotten, is so all over the place in the course of this short season that he could do literally anything and it would be deemed “in character.” We get almost no context for why any of the characters are
doing what they are doing, and if we do get context, it’s vague and sloppy. Any hints at character development or people switching sides goes unused or dropped, and execution of the plans and schemes and terrorism that keep the plot going are tired and rushed excuses of every other good terrorist/smart main character shows we've seen. Relationships in this show are built on stupid coincidences or tired tropes and it was all very exhausting and boring to watch.
I couldn’t invest in any of the characters, therefore I could’t invest in the show.
Here is my review on the anime, Ajin
First thing to note about this anime. This anime is semi 3D, and is really good. There are plenty of characters introduced throughout the episodes being both good, and evil. The artwork is amazing, having deep and inky colors, awesome dynamic lighting, necessary motion blurring, absolutely no art mistakes to be seen, and is just loads of fun to watch. Audio is as good, being rich and deep, the audio quality and sound effects are quite unlike anything else in the anime’s category and have a cinema-like feel. The intro and outro songs are both amazing, with the
intro song being slightly fast-paced and outgoing, and the outro song being slower with a much softer tone. (P.S: The outro song is sung by the voice actor of Kei!).
This anime is built up from a highly praised manga, and is flawless. Perfect art, perfect audio, perfect.. Everything. This anime has great potential to continue growing and is truly worth watching.
This anime is recommended for people who like mixed action anime with mystery, horror, and more.
The reason I chose to write this is because I've seen a lot of negative reviews about this anime.
First of, I started watching this without being biased one way or another.
In other words, I had never heard of this anime or read anything about it, nor the manga.
I was just happily scrolling my netflix one thursday night and Ajin came up.
The story sounded great so without looking it up or reading anymore than what was on the recap on netflix, I pressed play.
The plot, EXACLTY as great as I thought it would be. I love it, just
right up my alley. I love the main character even though after 13 ep you still don't even begin do scratch the surface of Kei's depts and who he is or what he might become, which shows the potential this anime has! And yes, there is character development! Kei is a character you might not like in the first ep or even the third because there is so much happening that to understad and get to know Kei takes time, and it really keeps you hungering for the next episode!
Kei is actully smart, which make you (well, me) like him A LOT. Its not one of those characters thats your typical two-dimensonal hero who just "have to save everyone!" who runs in, messes up, cries, gets some mystery power and saves the day because he got lucky- or gets saved by someone else and hopes that his power will come when his girlfriend is in trouble-type of guy. No, Kei is extremely smart, efficent but also kind and hounorble. In other words, he's a realistic type of guy and never makes you scream at your screen "RUN ALREADY YOU STUPID HALFWIT!!!".
The only negative thing (except it being just 13 ep!?!?!?!?) is, as you might have guessed, the art.
Or (I'm new to anime so forgive me), to me its not the ART itself. Because if you freeze the anime or look at it from at freezeframe point of view, I think the art is quite beautiful. Special, yes. But beautiful.
What makes it "bad" is, (again, new at this) the animation in itself?
Its like the characters and the flow and movement of all objects, charaters in particular, is just so... Awkward. Everytime I see the bodylanguage I think of those bobbled headed dogs, you know, the dolls you put on your office desk or something and the head bobs up and down?
Or it feels like watching a trailer of the sims 2.
Thats how they move in the anime, and not just the characters.
So yes, that ruined it a bit but after a few episoded I got (sort of) used to it.
No, wait. Let me put it like this.
The plot and characters were just too good to drop it or make me wanna stop just because the art was a bit "bad".
As a whole, this is definately a new favourite! I REALLLYYYYYYY loved the plot and characters and I can't wait for a second season!!!
This is a great anime, it has a good story and its executed very nicely. I'm not realy a fan of the art, but thats just my opinion, the characters are a bit forgetable, but not the worst. I definetly recommend this anime to those who like action and mystery, aswell as a hint of psycological thinking. The music is also quite nice, as I love the opening and ending.
This story begins with beings called Ajin, they are eternal beings that simply revive after they die. Our protagonist, Kai Nagai, wants to become a doctor and help other people. This all goes wrong when he
realises that he is actualy one of these Ajin. He runs from home, as there is a reward for capturing an Ajin, and he feared that people would turn him in. Along with his friend Kaito, they escape from town.
The story only gets more complicated from then on, so If you're thinking about watching it, I say: "Give it a shot"... its a great anime, that definetly diserves a watch.
Ajin was one of those anime that received polarized views even before it started airing. Some were interested with the thrills is could give, while others were turned off by the use of CGI and the use of a familiar premise. However, if one could ignore or adjust to the CGI present in this series, they would be able to experience something much greater. Ajin is one of the best thriller anime to come out in recent time, and is easily of of the best of the winter season this year. It’s cinematic presentation with a heavy amount of thrills is a fantastic experience no
doubt. And those who are fans of this genre couldn’t be more pleased with Ajin’s final results.
Ajin takes place in a setting where immortal human beings with supernatural abilities, known as Ajin, were discovered and society decided to eliminate them as they are a potential threat to humanity. Our protagonist, Kei, was a victim to a truck accident, which caused him to reveal his supernatural powers, revealing that he’s an Ajin. The series focuses on Kei’s story of being on the run, and the political and social views on Ajin. The premise is quite similar to some other anime of the same series, such as Tokyo Ghoul and Kiseijuu. However, Ajin manages to find its own name in this somewhat overused premise. The story managed to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the series. It doesn’t start to pick up until the third or fourth episode, but when it does pick up, it’s insanely fun. The situations give to the characters of this series is very enjoyable and very intense. And the series also focuses on the political views of the situations and it’s nice to see some focus on that. The series later felt like a battle between the government and the Ajin and how they can get as much people on their side. This take was definitely in interesting one, and they manage to create tension with this aspect of the story too.
One of the best things about Ajin is its presentation. With its writing, Ajin manages to create a more cinematic feel to it. It’s perfect blend of music, cinematography, thrills and cliffhangers make this one hell of a ride. The pacing is also pretty good in the series. There is sufficient buildup given to the more thriller moments and during the action scenes, the pacing picks up rapidly. However, the third quarter of this series felt somewhat slow, especially after all those events that happened just episodes before. However, they do work well as buildup episodes for its final episodes. The focus of the series is also unique. Not only dies it focus on Kei’s fugitive storyline, but also Satou’s attempts of shaking society and making room for the Ajin species. Another really good this about Ajin is its consistent tone. For the entire series, Ajin manages to keep its thrills and dark presentation stable. The story does go into deeper matter such as politics and torture and the series manages to handle these well. And the present dark humor is also a delight. From Satou’s remarks to Kei’s “IDGAF” faces, the series manages to keep a slight humorous feel that relaxes the tension.
Ajin features a great cast of characters that all stand out in their own way. The protagonist, Kei, is a really hard character to study. What first seemed like a typical helpless character, turned out to be a heartless and selfish character instead. The viewers go from sympathizing with him, to looking at him in disgust at times. The way the series foreshadows Kei’s real characteristics was smartly done. Kei is the type of person who does good deeds not because its good, but because its right. Next we have Kei’s best friend, Kaito, and he’s also a pretty good character. Not much development is given to him, mainly because he doesn’t play too big of a role in the overall story. Satou is easily one of the best things about this series. He’s badass, he’s brutal, he’s ruthless, and he’s so much fun. His ideologies are interesting and the actions he takes in order for Ajin to receive recognition is fun to watch. Then you have those governmental characters that are after these Ajin, such as Tosaki and Shimomura, and they succeed to be good supporting characters, even with their minimal role.
The art design is pretty good in Ajin. The atmosphere in the series was made to be very dark and gritty and it matches the content. The use of darker and bleached out colors, with its limited color palette. Was a really smart choice. The character designs are also fairly good. Kei’s look matches both his helpless and ignorant sides. And Satoru’s look can make him look both the gentleman and the *ssh*le. My major gripe with the art is the lack of details given to anything in the series, mainly due to its CGI. Architectures feel bland and lack detailing. Some surfaces, especially the grounds, feel very blurry. And at times, the CGI prevents the facial expressions to be clear or proper.
The first thing you’ll notice about Ajin’s animations is that it’s CGI… completely. Some people do give it slack for being completely CGI, but personally, I think the CGI suited Ajin. The IBMs depicted in the series look super fluid and really makes the scene feel better. Even things like vehicle movements feel a lot better in its CGI format. That doesn’t cover up the fact that the main use of CGI is to save time, effort and money. However, there are moments where the CGI doesn’t look too good, such as character movements. Polygon Pictures isn’t new to CGI. As a matter of a fact, the only work they have done are all in CGI. However, compared to most CGI products in anime, Ajin’s one of the more polished ones.
The voice acting in Ajin is really good, which wasn’t surprising considering the fact that this series has a good cast. You have Miyano Mamoru voice acting Kei, so it would be a joke saying that he didn’t do a good job with Kei. Miyano does a fantastic job (of course) as he manages to make Kei look both helpless and arrogant. His “IDGAF” scenes were really well done. There’s a torture scene involving Kei in this series and Miyano’s voice acing skills really shine there. With his talent, he’s able to make the viewers understand the pain the character is feeling. Fukuyama Jun, another extremely talented seiyuu, does Kou fantastically too. His character doesn’t play too big of a role in this series, but with his limited role, he does really good. He’s able to make the character feel humorous or serious whenever needed. Hosoya, Yoshimasa does a pretty good job as Kaito, even with his limited role. He does the best friend role pretty well. Ootsuka Houchuu does an excellent job as Satou, he can make his character looks wise and good or sadistic and evil when necessary. Sakurai Takahiro, who is another well-known seiyuu, does Tosaki really well. Other seiyuu such as Komatsu Mikako, Osaka Ryota and Suzaki Aya, all do a very well job too.
Voice Acting: 8/10
Where do I start with the music part of Ajin? The OP, “Yoru wa Nemureru kai?”, is really catchy, upbeat, and it matches the series. It really sets the mood up for the series. The ED, “HOW CLOSE YOU ARE” is also very good. Unlike its more upbeat OP, the ED is more slower and its more relaxed (even if the visuals of the ED are rather the opposite). Ajin has some of the best background music you’ll even hear. By the time I finished watching the third episode, I was begging to get hold of the soundtrack. The music really boosts up the thrills of the series. The beats are killer, especially when something really intense is happening in the series. The main theme of Ajin is absolutely fantastic as its upbeat, thrilling and nerve-wracking. Other tracks such as “Crisis”, “Game”, “Agitation”, and “Execute” are what makes this anime feel so much better.
Ajin was one of the most enjoyable things to come from the winter season. It’s thrilling and suspenseful. Its focus on not only Kei’s fugitive life, but also the political situation of Japan after these incidents, makes the story even better. Its uniquely written protagonist and likeably written antagonist makes this series a lot better. The CGI at times did halt my experience with the series, but it’s nothing too bad. The music in the series is one of the best I’ve heard, and even if Ajin delivered nothing at all, at least I got myself a killer soundtrack. Plus, the series’ cinematography and editing gives it a more cinematic experience, which increases the enjoyment of the series. And with the send of this series, I’m dying for a second season already.
In the end, Ajin is one of those series that is worth checking out, especially those who are fans of the genre. Many people have skipped over this series because of the CGI or the lack of a proper release outside of Japan. But its thrilling storytelling with its cinematic feel makes a great experience. Plus, the use of music in the series is absolutely fantastic. The characters in the series is really good, particularly the main protagonist and antagonist. Its use of CGI is somewhat disappointing, especially during the more unpolished scenes. But it’s content makes up for that easily. Overall, Ajin is something that shouldn’t be judged just by key visuals and PVs, but rather with its great content.
+ Very stylish as it has a cinematic vibe to it, with proper pacing and buildup
+ The main protagonist and antagonist are complexly made and enjoyable.
+ Plot focuses not only on Kei on the run, but Satou’s attempts to shake society
+ Outstanding background music, and with its proper placement, the thrills increase.
- Takes a couple of episodes for it to get really interesting and break away from its somewhat overused premise
- Some of the CGI feels unpolished and makes the art lack details
The first thing that you will notice about Ajin is that it’s not aesthetically pleasing. It uses choppy 3DCGI similar to that of Knights of Sidonia albeit the latter meshed better with its cold futuristic alien-like setting. While here it blemishes the what could have been eerie atmosphere. Fortunately it wasn't enough to detract any meaningful enjoyment from this thrilling, monster-horror war, laminated with a logical cast of characters with easy to grasp motivations.
While I say the art is bad, it's mostly just the awkward character designs and the janky animation. The direction is good but there is never a moment that leaves you feeling
that what you just watched was awesome. Which is sad because there are plenty of bad ass moments intermingled with gut churning creativity. The Ajin fights between one an other only remained interesting because it led into more insight about them, the fights themselves were about as entertaining as watching an infant mashing two plastic darkly clad figures together until one is randomly declared as the victor. This sentiment holds true to an extent with all of the fights. When a character died the impact of that death was diluted and it almost rendered a comical feeling.
Death is abundant and characters utilizing tactics based on immortality is rife and occasionally clever. You see characters killing themselves to escape, to keep awake and to kill others. I was surprised to see a Hannibal reference made by the antagonist but at the same time it was clever contextually as you didn't have to have read Red Dragon to understand that the antagonist was about to play a trick through the media to attract the attention of the otherwise unidentifiable Ajins.
The focus follows a few different characters from three groups; the government/pharmaceutical company and the Ajins seeking domination and the outsiders. There is little nuance between the main characters except a shared trait of logic and reasoning. Each has differing motivations and when these motivations collide, the conflict between them sparks up in believable and intriguing ways. This is largely thanks to the protagonist who to simply put and as other characters describe him as, a jerk.
To go a bit deeper, he is the kind of person who is coldly logical, narcissistic and has questionable morals. All he wants to do is live a simple, comfortable life. When you pit him against the empathetic hero who wants to save lives at the risk of his own, or the mastermind leader who seeks revenge, or even just his childhood friend who wants to help him, it calls for interesting scenarios and all of which have engaging resolutions.
The mystery about what the Ajins are and what they mean is interesting enough, at least for you to what to know more but it's really what the characters do with that knowledge which differentiates itself from shows with a similar "Oh no, I'm a monster!?" premise like Tokyo Ghoul and Parasyte.
It's worth mentioning that I watched the English DUB of this and it wasn't terrible. OST is decent although I literally can't remember what it was like and I watched this yesterday so take that as you will.
Ajin is at it's best when ideals clash, supernatural powers are manipulated and character insights are revealed. While it fails from delivering any spooky chills, it achieves on taking you on a thrilling adventure through a field of death, deceit and disestablishment.
Let me start by apologising, somehow I got the mistaken impression that 91 Days was a horror anime, which it isn't. I'ts a historical thriller. For those of you who were looking forward to my reviewing that, I'll review it in November, but for the moment, let's talk about an actual horror anime. To be specific, let's talk about Ajin. A supernatural horror mystery from Polygon Pictures. Based off of the manga from Sakurai Gamon. I have no idea what to expect from it. I haven't heard anything about it. Let's delve into it.
The titular Ajin look human, act human and think of
themselves as human. The key differences are that Ajin can't die. Every time they take mortal damage, a black mass swirls around them and they resurrect. Ajin can also summon black humanoid shapes that are invisible to human eyes. There are rumours about the Ajin. Some say that the government offers a reward of a hundred million yen to anyone who helps capture one. Some say they're subjected to cruel and inhumane experiments once they're captured. Nagai Kei is a quiet, studious lad who doesn't much care for people. After an accident, he learns that he is, in fact, an Ajin. Now, the government is after him and he's on the run, convinced that there's some truth to the rumours.
The biggest flaw with this series is that it doesn't really develop its ideas that well. It'll spend a little time with something and then move on to the next thing without ever returning to flesh out the previous thing. The consequence is that there are a lot of plot points that are allowed to drop and others that could have been considerably more interesting, but aren't given time to build up because they really wanted to get to the next big moment. Not like the big moment they were on mattered that much. It's also worth noting that the “horror” of this series is largely just that it has supernatural creatures. There's all of one moment in the entire thirteen episodes that actually kind of works as horror.
In spite of that, I do like the idea of the series. I like that it has moral ambiguity with neither side of the conflict being moral. And neither one is morally questionable in some over the top or cartoonish way. They have motivations that legitimately work, given the scenario. The narrative does also do a good job of keeping you interested in what's coming next. In spite of its tendency to rush things. Its very good at ending its episodes at just the right moment to get the audience interested in what's coming next.
This series is somewhat reminiscent of Phantom: Requiem in that it doesn't have any morally good characters, mostly. It has a couple side characters who seem genuinely like good, supportive people. Its major characters, in contrast, are very much a self-centred group. Each of whom is willing to do terrible things if it serves them or helps them towards their goal. That being said, it is interesting to watch how they respond when their interests clash and they do, largely, come across as actual people, at least in terms of personality. It's also kind of interesting that so many of them act out of desperation at various points in the narrative. That being said, the dynamics don't always work. A big example is Kei and Kaito. We basically see flashbacks of how they used to be friends a long time ago and, somehow, it left such an impact that Kaito is willing to risk himself for Kei. Even though Kei's literally spent years ignoring him. If their relationship troubles had been a recent development, it might be believable, but with that much time it comes across as really contrived. They really needed to show us more of their relationship and why it means so much to Kaito even after all this time, which does tie into the series' general problem of rushing ahead without developing things properly.
The artwork in this isn't very good. Its not that it uses obvious CG, it's that it uses obvious CG that looks to be at about the level of a Playstation 2 game, and not one like Final Fantasy XII that looked really nice. No, it looks like an early PS2 game when developers weren't even close to pushing the system's limits. It's more than a little distracting to see those visuals when they're trying to have a serious moment.
The vocal cast in this is pretty good. Miyano Mamoru, Ootsuka Houchuu, Hosoya Yoshimasu, Komatsu Mikako & Sakurai Takahiro are all good in this. Kanno Yugo did the music for the series and it's decent enough.
There really isn't any. Nor is there romance in the series in general, save for one character's motivation.
Ultimately, Ajin is okay. It has some good ideas and it is interesting, but rushing from one major plot point to the next hurts it. As does the generally weak artwork. If the series had had twenty episodes and spent more time on its important plot points, it could have been really good. Unfortunately, it doesn't have that time. So, it's rushed, but still decent enough. My final rating is going to be a 6/10. If the premise sounds interesting and you can forgive the artwork, you might get into it. Next week I'll end this year's horror month with Danganronpa 3: Zetsubou-hen. In the meantime, keep your fabulosity gauge filled.
"Humane? Ajin aren't humans so the word humane doesn't apply to them."
The theme of humanity is a recurring one in this anime, consequently bringing me back to my highschool English days as I watched movies like Blade Runner and Frankenstein. The show does an amazing job showing the monsters and humans in both human and Ajin parties - and the word "monster" is not as clear cut as once thought out to be.
Story - 8
Don't be fooled by the comparatively low score for the story - it is great, it's just that I haven't read the manga yet, and the second season is just
around the corner. This is a preliminary score - which although may not be fair as the whole story has yet to be told, I think is justified. Without giving too much details on the main plot, the story revolves around a bunch of characters, the Ajin (both good and bad) - mysterious beings who have been granted immortality, the ones who are trying to capture the Ajin (although their motives may be unclear) and although there is a supposed main character - he doesn't do all that much in this season.
Art - 8
A lot of people are put off by the CGI, but in all honesty, it does not take away from the experience. In fact, if anything, it makes the monsters seem even more creepy with their unnatural, robot like movements. In terms of the actual art itself, it is amazing. DON'T let the art put you off watching this anime - unless you really can't stand it, it is up to personal preference after all.
Sound - 8
The sound is spectacular. It meshes with the art style/CG perfectly, giving off eerie vibes at times, with intense suspenseful music to back it up. The opening song while not particularly memorable, fits well with the overall mood of the show. I've only watched/listened to the closing song once, because I'm too excited to watch the next episode for the next part of the story - and that's a good thing (although the closing song isn't very memorable either)
Character - 9
This is where this anime really shines. Characters are fleshed out in a subtle way - while ALL the characters still have many secrets to them, they tease and insinuate various reasons as to why a character behaves a certain way. The most interesting character to me has to be the primary antagonist, Satou - while he is a bit cliche, he pulls off his evil, manipulative ways in a way that even makes me think twice about his actions - that is until he goes mass murder mode.
Enjoyment - 10
What can I say more than "I really enjoyed it"? Sure it wasn't the most amazing anime I've watched, but it's also the first anime in a while which I've actually bothered to watch from episode 1 to the final episode. It keeps you on your toes, and is a refreshing change to all those poorly made teenage high school comedy animes that are all too many.
Overall - 9
There are a few times in this anime where I thought, "what? how does that work?", but the overall premise of the show is delivered well. Have I watched an anime like this before? Probably. Can it be a bit cliche at times? Yes. But is it unique? Yes - in an age where a good anime plot becomes increasingly more difficult to think of, and remakes are the norm, it pulls off an original concept without the stench of an overcomplicated and overthought storyline that too many animes these days try to accomplish.