Ichirou Inuyashiki is a 58-year-old family man who is going through a difficult time in his life. Though his frequent back problems are painful, nothing hurts quite as much as the indifference and distaste that his wife and children have for him. Despite this, Ichirou still manages to find solace in Hanako, an abandoned Shiba Inu that he adopts into his home. However, his life takes a turn for the worse when a follow-up physical examination reveals that Ichirou has stomach cancer and only three months to live; though he tries to be strong, his family's disinterest causes an emotional breakdown. Running off into a nearby field, Ichirou embraces his dog and weeps—until he notices a strange figure standing before him.
Suddenly, a bright light appears and Ichirou is enveloped by smoke and dust. When he comes to, he discovers something is amiss—he has been reborn as a mechanized weapon wearing the skin of his former self. Though initially shocked, the compassionate Ichirou immediately uses his newfound powers to save a life, an act of kindness that fills him with happiness and newfound hope.
However, the origins of these strange powers remain unclear. Who was the mysterious figure at the site of the explosion, and are they as kind as Ichirou when it comes to using this dangerous gift?
July, 2000. A man named Hiroya Oku revealed to the world with his skills through his infamous sci-fi, horror Gantz. The manga ran over 300 chapters and ended in 2013. It was a time when the man really made a name of himself in the manga community. An anime adaptation aired between April and November 2004. That was over a decade ago. Now, the man has made this new work called Inuyashiki, a title that honestly piqued my interest more than I had expected. However, did it really live up to the hype?
To be clear, Inuyashiki has nothing to do with Gantz or in fact
any way similar. However, it’s clear from day one that the author wanted the viewers to experience something memorable. Through his craft, it is accomplished with our two main guys – titular character Ichiro Inuyashiki and the sociopath Hiro Shishigami. I don’t want to jump the gun here but these two characters are on complete antithesis of each other; like two sides of a coin, ying and yang.
After a certain mysterious incident from the first episode, we find out that Ichiro and Hiro develops mysterious powers that could change mankind forever. This show establishes the two characters from the first two episodes through their actions and personality. Ichiro is portrayed as a timid old man who has a hard time making friends. However, it’s shown that he has a heart of gold and works to help others. He puts others besides himself and often takes high risks with calculated chance. On the other hand, there’s Hiro. To put it simply, this guy is a sociopath that walks as a demon in human form. He appears to be kind and respectful but his true personality is much more complex as viewers soon discover. Throughout the show, it’s easy to see that he has a God-like complex of himself. He uses his powers to kill others simply for the thrill and because he can. It’s not entirely known how he developed his personality but a look at his storytelling in relation to his family and school life may have attributed to this. However, Hiro is not entirely devoid of humanity. It’s shown that he deeply cares about his mother and also had a friend named Andou that he occasionally defends from bullies. Later on in the series, Hiro also meets a girl who harbors feelings for him that he grew to accept. That being said, I think Hiro represents the worst of humanity. Through his killings, Hiro confesses that he “never felt so alive” while he does so. In other words, Hiro kills with little reason besides to feel.
The creator of the series obviously tries to get viewers to feel something and to be honest, it works. From the first few episodes, it’s intriguing to see the storytelling from both sides. While both Hiro and Ichiro uses violence, they use it for completely different reasons. While Hiro feels alive through killing, Ichiro feels alive through saving others. It’s actually quite relatable too to our today’s society. There are these type of people living in our world. Psychopaths exists and so do heroes. You probably hear about them on the news every day. However, Hiro makes the news for the wrong reasons and it becomes clear that he wants to experiment with his powers and show off his God complex. While this all seems like nonsensational drama, it does actually does work as the show is able to use its violence to full effect. From police massacre to destruction of aircrafts, it gives his insight on what Hiro is truly capable of and how far he goes to prove his point. Additionally, this show also adds a bit of dark humor through the usage of 2chan and other social media drama. My experience from this show made me realize that Hiro and Ichiro really shows what humans are capable of when they are given powers beyond the natural law of order. Ichiro proves that he can use powers to great responsibility to save others and it can be inspiring.
Character relationships throughout the show can be taken in several ways. Hiro’s relationships can elicit various emotions such as with his mother, Andou, and Shion. They are people he actually cares about although as the story progresses, circumstances begins to change. For Ichiro, I honestly feel sorry for him. The closest friend he has is his dog. He has an ill relationship with his family and even his daughter doesn’t seem to respect him. However, I will say that Ichiro is a man of integrity. Even at age 58, he hopes to make a difference in his world after developing his powers. He accepts them like a God’s blessing rather than using it as a weapon. Unfortunately, I can’t say other character relationships in this show is well developed. I can’t really find Shion or Andou memorable at all throughout the series and they hardly influence my enjoyment. On the other hand, the manga itself is well adapted with even references alluding to other manga such as One Piece. I can safely say that the overall tone of the psychology remains impactful. While the show can come off as edgy at times through its violence, it really knows how to use them.
Adapted by studio MAPPA, Inuyashiki’s quality is about as good as it can get. The first few episodes showed that it has the capability of handling CGI. Character designs are also really interesting to take note that shows the frail innocence of Ichiro and deceptive handsomeness of Hiro. The overall setting of Tokyo remains consistent with our modern time. However, what’s really to take notice is the action and violence. To be clear, the violence is over the top especially in later episodes. There’s massive amounts of blood, body parts being blown off, and gunfights. There’s little censorship so expect it to be thrown right to your face. On the other hand, it’s unfortunate to say but I think MAPPA overestimated itself this year. In later episodes, some of the quality suffers such as the flight scenes and pure action movements.
Visually aesthetic and extravagant in style, Inuyashiki’s OP song “My Hero” by MAN WITH A MISSION is among one of the most memorable of the year. The overall tone and just the imagery itself is filled with creativity and hard to duplicate. However, the voice mannerism of the characters can be a mixed bag. It took me some time to accept Hiro’s voice as his personality became easier to understand. Ichiro’s voice is that of an old man and even harder to accept. The OST is moody although can be emotional at the appropriate times or eerie when impactful events happen.
Inuyashiki turned out to be quite an experience to be honest. From the very first episodes, I was hooked by what it had to offer and the characters were well worth investing into. It didn’t feel like a “good vs evil” generic story as we explore the depths of human psychology. While I can’t say this anime is recommendable to anyone, it will be one to remember for years to come. A show like Inuyashiki proves that psychological sci-fi fillers are still a draw in the anime world.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s a flying Grandpa!
Perhaps it’s rather counter-intuitive to even mention this, considering how much we actively consume as fans of this medium, but anime is… strange. It’s a medium in which vigorously seems to try and go against societal norms; a medium not afraid to cover taboo or heavy topics such as incest or depression, and covers a myriad of different ideas and themes that if someone were looking for something incredibly specific from a piece of media, they’d probably find their incredibly niche want within anime. This is the main reason why I choose to
persist as much as I do within this medium, not only since I enjoy strange pieces of media to begin with, but also because I can get stories and concepts in anime that I can’t get anywhere else, such as Haibane Renmei and The Tatami Galaxy to just name a few. I’m always looking out for something that is incredibly bizarre; something to fill that sensation I have to watch weird media, and the people over at MAPPA gave me what I was indeed looking for in the form of Inuyashiki (aka Flying Grandpa Simulator), a show in which a 58-year-old grandpa becomes a cyborg, with a multitude of different abilities, one of which being flight, as he becomes a vigilante of justice, protecting the weak, and curing people of their disease. Inuyashiki is a strange series, and one in which I’m not quite sure where the writers were going with this story. For what I believe was supposed to be a moralistic battle against good and evil while presenting ideas of what it means to be human instead devolves into full blown dumb shlock, and I loved every second of it! Don’t get me wrong, this show is bad. Quite bad in fact. But Inuyashiki has become one of my favourite guilty pleasures in anime with a concept and aesthetic so silly that I can’t take any of it seriously, even when it’s clear I am supposed to at times. Allow me to elaborate:
Inuyashiki Ichirou, our senior male fantasy empowerment for this tale (laugh track at my totally original and clever joke) is not exactly having the greatest of times. Aside from looking much older than he actually is, his entire family resents him, for seemingly no reason. He has no affection with his wife, as they sleep in different rooms of the house, and his children also give him no time of day at all. To make matters worse, Inuyashiki receives unfortunate news that he has got terminal cancer, and, feeling that he can’t tell anybody about this, keeps it to himself, suffering in silence all the more than before. After a trip to the park to cry alone, suddenly, AILENS! For no reason, and without any explanation at all, aliens accidently kill both Inuyashiki and a man standing next to him, our main antagonist for this tale, Hiro (who just so happens to be standing next to him for some reason, but whatever). Realising their mistake, the aliens then rebuild both men, turning them into cyborgs in the process! While Inuyashiki uses his newly found powers for good, Hiro uses it for murder, as the rest of the series sees Hiro running from the police and becoming a bigger threat, with Inuyashiki trying to find him with the help of Andou, the once friend of our villain, who wishes to stop his murderous cyborg pal, leading to Inuyashiki’s and Hiro’s inevitable fight at the end.
Flying Grandpa Simulator is fundamentally a tale of good versus evil, with each character’s respective ideologies being as basic as they come. Inuyashiki is the good guy, Hiro is the bad guy. While they do try and provide some introspection into Hiro’s character and the reason why he kills (which I’ll get into a little bit later in this review) this basic set-up is what allows Inuyashiki to be so damn senseless and fun! Flying Grandpa’s narrative is incredibly silly and over the top, but there was not a single moment in the entire show where I was bored and not laughing my ass off at how ridiculous the show could get at times, with the basic good versus evil narrative providing an amusing framework for all the stupid shit that happens in the show. This acted as an incentive for me to keep watching, just to see what the writer would think up next, and he never failed to entertain me on that front. The show is constantly trying to one-up itself every step of the way, with the narrative becoming more and more cheesy and ludicrous as it goes along, with Hiro proclaiming that he will kill everyone in Japan and even beginning to see through on this proclamation as he takes to the city buildings, and from there, kills hundreds with his finger banging, being the icing on the schlock-filled cake! The anime is all over the place, and the pacing in particular is so fast, that it actually works in favour of the show from an entertainment standpoint. One moment we see Inuyashiki flying through the skies accompanied with silly cartoon slapstick music, and then the very next episode we see him infiltrate a yakuza hideout, blind every single person there, and leave completely shirtless (not to mention that in the start of that very same episode, a Yakuza boss walks into a sauna completely naked and forces another guy to give him fellatio!)
Even just all the little strange details the show includes makes it so enjoyable to watch as a piece of shlock for me. Such as is the case of the cyborg bodies of both Inuyashiki and Hiro. Not only is the prospect of seeing an old shirtless man flying through the air one that cracks me up, but the fact that this body, which was created by aliens, includes a USB port under one of the finger nails in order to connect it to an iPhone is such a stupid thing to include, that I burst out laughing when it happened! I guess Aliens also use USBs to connect their Iphones to various other devices too?!
However, we still haven't got to my favourite element of the cyborg bodies: finger banging! By just simply forming their fingers into the shape of a gun, much like a did back when I used to play when I was like six-years-old, and then shouting “BANG” they fire off an invisible bullet of sorts, or, in Hiro’s case, using his entire arm to mimic a machine gun while screaming “DADADADADADA” when firing at a bunch of reporters. Just the idea of comparing Hiro playing with guns to that of a child is one that I found so hilarious, but it ultimately falls in line with Hiro's ideology and mindset; he too, thinks in the same rationality as a child would, so it does make sense within the context of his character to act as such.
Inuyashiki’s narrative is comparable to that of a cheesy science fiction, and seems to almost revel in that fact. However, there were some elements and ideas present here, that were actually not completely schlocky, that I thought were kind of interesting. Take, for example, where Hiro hijacks people’s phones and TV screens in order to murder them. It’s nothing great, sure, but I liked this idea since it meant that the killer could appear anywhere, at any time, striking people when they are at their most vulnerable, which added a whole new dimension of tension to those scenes in which Hiro goes on a rampage. It's an interesting concept to take a device which is so engraved in our every day lives and present it as the biggest threat to our survival. However, despite as such, I would be lying if I said that much of my own enjoyment for Inuyashiki’s narrative is indicative of the schlock and stupid premise, which, while entertaining to watch to kill some time, doesn’t offer much besides that. It’s the type of show to watch drunk or high to get the most out of. If you’re looking for something that comments on the true nature of what it means to be human with themes of existentialism and the such, then you will find no such thing here.
Much of your level of enjoyment of this show stems from whether you enjoy watching bad schlock, and if you can just turn your brain off (since, when you begin to think about each of the world-building elements and ideas then your brain will hurt since nothing makes any logical sense) and just watch all the stupid carnage unfold before your eyes. I had a blast watching Inuyashiki, clearly, and I think that’s worthy of praise if a show can be entertaining, even if that show is indeed bad, but that still doesn’t excuse all the poor writing the show seems to thrive in and the multitude of problems it has. One of the most prolific, and the one that would probably put people off from watching the show altogether is the strange tonal shifts the show has, going from goofy hijinks with an old man attempting to fly, to the straight up murdering of young children and babies. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the second episode of the show, which shifts to the point of view of Hiro, our antagonist, something the show does rather frequently during its run. At the end of this episode, Hiro walks into a random stranger’s house, and murders everyone inside, including a small child who is sitting inside a bathtub, as his father cries and pleas for his life, but Hiro finger bangs him regardless. This surprised a lot of people who were not familiar with the manga, including myself, since it came so far out of left field, and the show has quite a number of these moments. The killing of children comes across as rather tasteless and a pathetic attempt to seem more edgy than it actually is; it’s essentially shock factor, which reminded me a lot of Elfen Lied, albeit nowhere near as extreme as that show, which tried to hide behind a veil of being deep and mature. Inuyashiki has an air of dumb fun, and seems to almost partake in making fun of how ridiculous it can be at some points in the show, to the point where it feels that the original writer had just as much fun writing this insane story as I had consuming it. Although, there were a few moments in the show in which I believe were supposed to make the viewer feel sad, or perhaps tense, regarding those moments were people are killed, but I was having just as much fun with those scenes as I would any other in the show, and it’s this strange juxtaposition of what I believe the writer intended an audience to feel, and what I felt, that makes any serious moment fall apart in the show.
The anime also has this strange tendency to randomly cut to a character who has no bearing on the overall plot at all, such as a working woman with terminal cancer or a woman on a plane visiting her family. This comes across as jarring and bizarre since the characters are completely inconsequential to the plot, and the show spends a good five to ten minutes on each respective character; it feels like needless padding just for the sake of such. While it does make sense in one or two instances, such as in episode four where we are introduced to two characters who are linked directly to the plot of that episode, which is what triggers Inuyashiki to go and infiltrate that Yakuza hideout I talked about a moment ago, most of the time it just feels worthless, and if it were cut entirely, nothing would be affected. I suppose the point of these random digressions in the narrative is to showcase what the public is thinking, and to gain an insight into how Inuyashiki’s efforts are saving people’s lives, but it still feels unnecessary. The ending for the show too, while I won’t get into specific details about it, isn’t exactly the greatest in the world either, and may leave you feeling somewhat irritated as a result, although it didn’t personally annoy as much as it did with others.
The characters of Flying Grandpa Simulator are probably the weakest part of the series, and feel more so like one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs than actual fleshed out people. First of all, there is Inuyashiki, our protagonist of this tale; a weak and timid old man who, despite working full time to support his family, receives no love or affection for all his hard work. All of Inuyashiki’s family are just so cruel to this poor old man, for seemingly no reason at all! While it is implied that Inuyashiki’s son resents his father because he is being bullied at school because of his poor family income, he still treats his father as if he were a stranger! Perhaps it can be excused since he is young, and being bullied or something along those lines, but his resentment towards his father just comes across more as trite and forced, to manipulate the audience into feeling sympathetic towards Inuyashiki. The show does try to explore the history behind Inuyashiki’s daughter however, Mari, whereupon we see that as a kid Mari cared for her father dearly, following him about everywhere and crying that he would pass away soon since he looked far older than he was. However, as she grew into adolescence, Inuyashiki explains to Andou that he has not spoken with his own daughter for years now, as she seems to actively try and avoid him at all costs, and it’s never explained why she does this, nor why she holds resentment towards her father. It’s kind of implied that she is trying to prove something to him, that being that she wants to draw manga, but the show doesn’t give any clear insight into why she dislikes her father as much as she does, making her feel more like a one-dimensional twat if anything else. While in the penultimate episode of the show she does once again begin to love her father as before, there’s not really any build-up to this event, aside from one moment in which Inuyashiki, in a conversation with Mari and her mother about her future, says that she should be allowed to pursue what she wishes, that is, drawing manga, or the few scenes where she was following her father around as he cured the sick in various hospitals, but her sudden change regarding her opinion of her father comes so far out from left field and feels jarring as a result.
I expected a bulk on Inuyashiki’s character arc to be centred around him growing in confidence with this newly found body and sorting out the various issues with the rest of his family, but that never really happens, nor is any justification given into why his family dislikes him as much as they do. While, certainly, Inuyashiki himself does seem to grow in his confidence, as he finally finds purpose in his life, and a reason for why he was born in the first place, as evident by his monologue in the penultimate episode in which he goes from person to person saving their lives, or healing them from their wounds, in a scene that actually had some heart to it, I wouldn’t say his character is anything substantial or even close to good. He simply represents the human side of the two newly-created cyborgs and that is it. Speaking of such, this leads me into the next character, Hiro, antagonist for the series, and the representation of the loss of humanity when one becomes a cyborg. Hiro’s character, and the arc he embarks on (or lack thereof) centres around his loss in humanity, as he has to kill others in order to feel human once again, childishly playing a game to determine which house he will enter next to slaughter those who lay within it. Hiro is just a complete psychopath with no emotions or empathy, asking women if they enjoy One Piece while their entire family has been killed! While the show does try and convey this theme of what it truly means to be human regarding Hiro’s character, it falls flat on its face since it’s heavily implied that Hiro was a complete psychopath even before becoming a cyborg, as we learn that as a child he killed small animals and the such. This completely negates all the attempts the narrative has to present Hiro as a victim of circumstance; as a victim of losing his own humanity which acted as the justification he had for killing people, and makes all the moments in the show in which he is breaking down and crying over someone he loved feel all the more ridiculous, as I can’t feel any sympathy towards someone who kills children! His character has no chance to reflect on the misdeeds he has done in the past, nor do we really get a chance to delve into the psychological implications his murdering is having on himself, which just makes him feel more so like a psychotic murderer and nothing else. I don’t believe this is inherently a bad thing, and it works in the show’s favour regarding its shlock value as I mentioned before, but it makes Hiro’s character uninteresting. Simply put, he is the bad guy and must be stopped. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The rest of the characters in the show are either just one-dimensional assholes, such as a group of kids in the very first episode who fire fireworks at some poor homeless man, a group of thugs, who, when told they shouldn’t push in front of the line for a taxi by a middle-aged businessman, then escort said man to a park twenty minutes away just to beat the hell out of him because they’re just that EVIL, or random kids making fun of a woman with cancer just to make her all the more miserable, or they’re absolute dumbasses! Every person in the world of Inuyashiki is so godamn dumb that I wonder how they even know how to properly breath! Okay, let’s first discuss Shion, who, after the news is revealed that Hiro is a murderer, and is thus on the run from the police, allows Hiro to stay with her and her Grandmother in her house as a means of protecting and hiding him since she doesn’t believe he would do such a thing. But, this makes no sense as there is no reason for Shion to believe that he isn’t a murderer as she knows nothing about him! To her, he is just a fellow classmate, and the only interaction that she has even had with him was one case where she asked for Hiro to go out with her, confessing her feelings in the process, whereupon he said, “Thanks” and walked away. There is nothing to suggest otherwise that he is not the killer, and it always annoyed me how naïve she was in letting, essentially what is a stranger, inside her home! Her character, as well as that of her Grandma are used mainly as a means for Hiro to learn to love people once again, and giving him some kind of reason and drive to fight to protect them, but it’s handled poorly.
But, compared to the entire Japanese police force, Shion is a goddamn mensa student. The police force, for whatever reason, are incapable of tracking down one single person, and it’s not like Hiro stays inside Shion’s place all the time either. He comes and gos rather frequently, and, in one instance, leaves just to murder some reporters before flying back! With all this travelling, and considering that he is one of the most wanted men in the area, why did it take so long for the police to hunt him down? Even more so when there are hundreds of goddam surveillance cameras all over the place too; surely, they must have been able to catch him on camera or something? Additionally, when Hiro begins his crusade to murder every person in Japan, he takes to the buildings and kills 100 people there and then, before issuing a warning to the rest of Japan that the following day he will kill 1,000. However, despite this massive threat, and proving that he has the means to be able to pull it off, nobody seems to even care! The very next day, despite commenting that there are fewer people out, most people are still working and walking about the area where all those people were murdered, but above all, most people are still using their phones! It was established in the previous attack that Hiro can kill you through a smartphone, or any other device with a screen on it, and here we have idiots walking around with their phones still! Do they actually want to die?! Also, why are the police not doing anything to find Hiro? Like, clearly, he was snipping people with his finger banging from high up on buildings, but where are the helicopter surveilling each building to try and find this guy? Even more so when we learn that he doesn’t even move from his location and just spent the night sleeping on top of the same roof he killed everyone from the day before! What are the police even doing?! One final thing I want to rant about really quick is how each woman in the show, most particularly teenage girls, refer to Hiro as being “hot” or “cool” so much so that there have been several fan groups made about him, and when one girl, during the massacre of 100 people sees Hiro appear on her phone, she blushes and acts like a dumbass instead of being fearful for her life! Why is Hiro being idolised? This is the guy who murdered babies for crying out loud! While the show does too seem to question this, as evident by a couple of police officers who are discussing this fact, this element always bugged me, and I groaned to myself whenever a girl would comment about how “hot” Hiro was.
Unfortunately, Flying Grandpa Simulator suffers from poor production values too, and while most of the character designs are fine by themselves, in motion, when the use of CGI is used, it can look pretty choppy. The CGI contrasts awkwardly with that of the traditional 2D animation, intermixing both within the same scene haphazardly, sometimes utilising CGI just for walking animation, and it’s incredibly inconsistent to bat. At best, it wasn’t too bad, and the CGI wasn’t obtrusive enough to really pull me out of the show, but at its worst, the CGI models can look hideous! Inuyashiki is far from the worst looking thing I have ever seen, but I wouldn’t say it’s particularly good either. As for most of the music in the show, it’s rather forgettable, barring one slapstick piece, that I remember above everything else since it was used bizarrely in a scene that didn’t fit the tone of the piece; a scene in which Inuyashiki has to stop several planes from crashing into the city to prevent hundreds of deaths! It feels pretty jarring, and doesn’t work at all. The OP and ED tracks however are both excellent! The OP is perhaps one of my favourite opening tracks for any anime, and I’ve listened to it on repeat while writing this review for hours now, I can’t get enough of it. It hypes me up so much, and is so goddamn catchy that I love it! By contrast, the show’s ED takes on a much more sombre and melancholic tone, reflecting the attempted relationship between that of Hiro and Shion, and is also a wonderful piece of music in its own right.
In conclusion, Inuyashiki is a bad show; one that is bogged down with poor writing, idiotic characters and mediocre production values, but I loved every second of it! It’s pure dumb shlock on every level, with a premise that I enjoyed due to just how silly it was. But, at the same time, this makes Inuyashiki hard to recommend to people since, as I said before, your level of enjoyment with this show is dependant on whether you enjoy shlock, and if this premise is one that you may enjoy as a “so bad that it’s good title”. As it stands however, I can’t bring myself to hate this show, despite how poor it actually is, since it brought me nothing but enjoyment, and while I am disappointed on some level with this show, as I’ve heard amazing things about the original source material, this show is certainly a better one than MAPPA’s previous effort, Bukkakegurui, a show that not only was bad but also boring! Inuyashiki, in my opinion, is the good type of bad show. The type, that despite still being indeed bad, is still able to make an entertaining show despite of that. With all that said and done, and finally ending my longest review yet, I thank you for taking the time to read this and, who knows… maybe your grandpa is also a cyborg too!
Inuyashiki..... It is the name of the anime I am going to have a review on. Coincidentally, the word "Inuyashiki" comes from the main character's full name. The anime Inuyashiki revolves around two men. One is an old man while the other is a young, teen-age high-schooler. You know on most anime the grown-up is always the antagonist of the series and the young ones are the protagonist, gaining character development every episode. Here, the old one is the protagonist and the young is the antagonist on most audiences. I said "most" there. Why? The story offers us what are the circumstances of the aged
and the youth. The aged worry about family and health while the other worry about his colleagues. Throughout 11 episodes we have seen the huge differences between the two. Base on the author of Gantz, Inuyashiki is an anime with the dark element shadowing its story. Does being a total human are the only ones have the right to help someone? Is having a human brain and a heart.. really consider someone being human?
Does being different to everyone really makes u different? Those are the common questions I've come across while watching.
The story of Inuyashiki focuses on the two main characters of the series. I, indeed, to be honest, have a hard time understanding both of them especially the antagonist Shishigami Hiro. With both of them having different ideals crashing like two planets together, it's really hard to get in favor to one of them. The story of Ichirou Inuyashiki is however, simple. He got cancer in an old age. His children doesn't care to him that much anymore unlike when they were kids. And his body is getting weak due to his illness, thus, limiting his work. Then there's Shishigami Hiro. There is no clear explaination on the background of Shishigami Hiro since when he appeared, he immediately showed his powers and how he used it (Like that part when he manipulate the cars to make traffic accident), though one thing is clear to this character. He only have his mother on his side without the father being completely supporting them. I said "completely" because yes the father supports them with money, but moral/emotional things? No. This left Hiro with only his mother on his side, devoting to protect her. Also the event (episode 2) of introduction of his friend Ando Naoyuki gave us a clue what's Hiro's personality. Due to his friend's absence because of bullies, Hiro did something. That "something" is unpredictable since we are like introduced to it on the spot of the episode where Hiro appeared very first.
This gave me a conclusion that throughout the story, there will be killings because of Hiro. Killings to protect while Ichirou Inuyashiki is going to stop him on some point in time. Each episode highlights what they are doing while the other is doing something also. This type of segment is a good highlight to the show since the two of them are the main focus of the audience. First 4 episodes (except episode 2) highlighted Ichirou Inuyashiki's perserverance and will to save people even against gangs. Though most of the episodes, reports have sited the "miracle healer" which was Inuyashiki himself. Episodes 5 - 11 (9,10,11 for Inuyashiki) gave us Hiro's triggered response. Triggered as in an incident gave way to his mass killings thus, awakening Inuyashiki also to stop him. The final episode (the ending) is quite a good closure to the story as Hiro did something remarkable for the fate of the entire human race (as well as Ichirou Inuyashiki.) and with the ending song on sync with the final moment, you can sense how emotional it was. The story is quite simple and understandable in a viewer's eyes. This what make Inuyashiki a great anime to watch this Fall 2017 season.
I've already explained that much to understand about the main characters of the story in the "story" part. Thus, I will make a short reflection about the other characters. The supporting characters of the story is a strong element here, which gives way to a simple but good story on my perspective. Supporting characters on Hiro's side gave way to an accepting reason or light to Hiro to kill. While the supporting characters on Ichirou Inuyashiki side gives him an influence to save people.
I am not really a fan of CG but Inuyashiki done it perfectly for me. It is indeed watchable and damn the metal parts of the body is quite detailed (as well as the asteroid in the final part) and I like it.
The songs of the anime gave us a clue of how the starting of an episode and a bit of emotional craze of it. The opening by Man With a Mission is very powerful, along with its visuals, giving us a good headstart on every episode.
The ending is quite sad or emotional on my perspective as we saw characters not on their full form but in white lights. I dont know the meaning of this (or its just a part of the plan) but at least I can give it a thought that
the ending shows us the value of each characters to other characters (my own opinion only).
Enjoyment and Overall thoughts:
It's really obvious that if you go through my review is that I enjoyed this anime in a great way. With its story along with characters on sync, its safe to say that this anime is worth to watch. Overall, I recommend you to watch it. An anime about two characters having different ideals crashing to each other. Then at the end, it all comes down to the human emotion.
> “Are my father and little brother dead too?”
> “What does that matter? We were talking about One Piece.”
I want to take you back to 2004, where an anime called Gantz was released; a gritty, gruesome action show from arguably the most inconsistent anime production studio: Gonzo, and it was a fucking train wreck! The finest example of a poor plot turned bombastic; gore, sex, nudity, profanity, it’s all here and is so nonsensical yet outrageous to the extreme, it can only be compared to shitty OVAs of the 80’s and 90’s that had next-to-no restrictions on what they could do. Unfortunately, due to factors
like fluctuating quality in animation, marketing and just being a downright insane show, other anime such as Monster, Paranoia Agent, SAC: 2nd GIG and Elfen Lied found large fanbases and have been fondly remembered whereas Gantz has been somewhat lost in the shuffle over the years. And those who have seen the show, while there might not be much to say about it positively, can certainly agree that Gantz was one of the most enjoyable pieces of schlock they have ever seen.
It’s been a long 13 years.
Inuyashiki is this decade’s Gantz, albeit toned down in sheer crudity yet never eases on being an insane power fantasy romp. It is a sci-fi action series based on the manga of the same name from mangaka Hiroya Oku, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s the same guy behind the manga for Gantz. Coincidence? The story tells of Ichiro Inuyashiki, a middle-aged man that appears almost twice his age who’s down on his luck, being ignored by his own family and finding out he has stomach cancer. Just when all looks bleak, he is killed by a UFO before being rebuilt as an invincible superweapon capable of saving lives and destroying the world. That’s right, aliens pop out of nowhere to turn man into machine with the purpose left in question. But he was not the only person rebuilt as such, and while Ichiro sees this as a way to do more good in his life, Hiro Shishigami is an edgy teen that does what he pleases with his new power, most of which involves slaughtering as many people as he wishes. The plot may seem complex but it’s really just an eccentric take on the “Good v Evil” dynamic commonly used. The premise overall is very intriguing, but what matters more is the execution; how well-handled the show was, and this is where my problems with Inuyashiki begin.
The series focuses on the two main characters, showcasing how they each come to terms with their newly acquired power in their own daily lives, whilst highlighting the contrast in their beliefs and newfound purpose. This contrast is not hard to pick up on, with Ichiro wishing to help those in need and use his power for noble and virtuous reasons, and Hiro…. Well Hiro’s reasons are never really explored – we only see Hiro abuse his abilities how he damn well pleases because he can. Hiro comes off as a child with this mentality, except even a child would have a more distinct personality than what we have here; a mindless psychopath devoid of human emotion – an android in both anatomy and mentality. Unfortunately, there are no flashbacks or scenes of Hiro’s past to show what he was like before the night he was killed, and that provokes one to question if Hiro is simply the character meant to be the villain and nothing more. Compare his situation to Ichiro, an old man that has his problems in life made evident, and when he gains insurmountable power he retains how he thinks and feels about others. Ichiro is no perfect character either; empathy for the man is difficult when personal issues are crammed into the first episode before being practically erased afterward, along with minimal time and focus on the relationship with his family, but at least I can say that Inuyashiki is a proper character that comes across like a real person. Whereas Hiro ends up feeling like the antagonist out of necessity for the plot to move forward, whilst allowing for a small group of fans to self-insert as the suave-looking overpowered badass with the world at his feet.
The points above may seem small when looking at the overall picture, but these minor issues become heavy burdens on the story of Inuyashiki when you look at the structure of the series. The first episode is all about Ichiro and crams a lot of content aimed to put sympathy on his character. At first it seemed an odd choice by staff, but looking back it’s easy to see why considering how most of the following episodes focus on Hiro and how he causes mayhem. It’s hard to not see so much of this cool, calm and crazy teenager murder so many people with Wind Style: Air Bullets and not think that the show only cared about the amount of bloodshed they could animate across the show’s runtime. Initially Hiro also uses his strength for his one friend Andou to stop him from getting bullied, but even when he distances himself from Hiro it does not change Hiro in the slightest. The way the show tries to intertwine both Ichiro’s and Hiro’s separate arcs fails to get viewers to empathise for either main character with one only shown to be on his own one-man rampage from the start, and the other having his arc glossed over as he is thrown into having to be the one to stop the rampage. With the exception of a few times, Ichiro is chasing around Hiro when committing evil acts, stagnating much chance of his character development taking place and putting all the attention on the slaughter. This would not be as big of a problem if Hiro’s character wasn’t built on unexplained motives, coming off so bland and lifeless to the core that both men end up being as one dimensional as the show. The ambiguity was what peaked my interest, but that turned into disdain when you figure out many aspects of the story stays in ambiguity.
The worst parts of Inuyashiki come when they try to take moments of pure schlock seriously and attempt to have viewers empathise with the people in the show. First off, it’s incredibly difficult to feel for a character like Ichiro when parts of his life are brought up at whatever time is convenient for the show. You can’t expect to exploit a character arc so sporadically and have viewers still feel so strongly for him when they themselves are trying to wrap their head around what is even happening with the story. And Hiro, while having more time and attention put on him, is even more laughable to feel bad for when all he does is murder in the most apathetic ways conceivable, from shooting at pedestrians on a whim to asking a girl what manga she likes after killing their family beforehand and her soon after. He is a psychopathic murderer with the most interesting part about him being that he’s a psychopathic murderer. Real sad. As for one-off characters, their screen time is more of a result of poor pacing than anything else, and it’s hard to feel sympathy for what is happening to random people in the show when the show itself is primarily concerned with being a bloody gore fest. Now a show like that is not inherently bad, but it needs to be self-aware enough to not rely on viewers feeling sympathetic for brutal acts on random bystanders, otherwise you come off as shallow. The pacing is also a constant issue – the ratio of chapters to episodes is 85:11, meaning that the show is going to be fast as fuck at potentially skipping key events present in the manga to compensate for the amount to content. This only adds to the already apparent problems in the narrative and characters, giving a show with so much violence almost no breathing room, its audience practically being bombarded with carnage being succeeded with more carnage, only separated by Ichiro attempting to save the day and a god-awful romance subplot that makes no sense even for blind teenage love. The ending also suffers from the pacing, being incredibly rushed that even with how cliché and contrived it was, any emotional impact it had on viewers had the weight of a slight breeze. Inuyashiki was never intended to be an emotional story and here it should have never become one.
It is obvious that Inuyashiki is more concerned with being about senseless fun than a battle of morals between good vs evil represented by two men not even human anymore, but for a show about being entertaining at such a base level, it was a boatload of fun to watch. The ridiculous of it all works to its favour, getting away with some the most shocking yet hilarious moments I’ve seen in a long time. Seeing CGI-animated men fly through the sky at night alone is funny enough, but having a man-child act as if he were holding on to an imaginary assault rifle, before massacring everyone in sight while saying “DADADADADADADADADADADADADADADADADADA” takes the hilarity to a whole new level. Events such as shooting people through their mobile phones, fighting an entire crime syndicate with technique from World Star Hip-Hop and learning to fly from channelling… Astro Boy?? How one cannot laugh out loud when watching this amazes me. Even when the main lead’s cybernetic enhancements are never looked into over the 11-episode duration, I can’t even be mad at this point. This is schlock to the max and is only concerned about being schlock with no thin veil of depth hiding its true intentions. If years later if I forget the show or the characters, at least I’ll remember the moments that made Inuyashiki what it really is.
The animation can be hit-or-miss depending on how you feel on CGI, and while I do think that CGI can be utilized well in anime, it feels out of place for the most part here. Initially this style is used only to show how complex Ichiro and Hiro are when they transform into the primitive mechanical lifeform, but from there its used more and more to where even basic walking will be computer-generated at some point. It becomes incredibly jarring when the show switches from the traditional 2D art style to 3D animation, and can also just look downright hideous, comparable to graphics from a PS1 era game. While it does makes everything look stupid and ergo more entertaining on a superficial level, it’s more of a detriment to the show overall. It’s such a shame that this show had this kind of animation quality behind Studio MAPPA, one that is praised for their high production values for anime the likes of Shingeki no Bahamut and even Garo: Vanishing Line, which came out the same time as Inuyashiki and looks much better despite being a lot less popular. Inuyashiki by no means looks like one of the worst anime ever – that’s asinine to believe, but I expected better. MAPPA, you got to stop letting me down.
As for the sound, it has its own share of problems. The soundtrack is forgettable and won’t affect the experience at all. What is top-tier though are the OP and ED; both are awesome. The OP by Man on a Mission features the most metal theme I’ve heard all year and never skipped. Definitely the most hype openings and one of my favourites for sure. The ED however seems somewhat underappreciated, coming off as sombre and melancholic, envisioning the romance between Hiro and his lover and make it a little more bearable than what we were given in the show. All in all, both are great and one will probably appreciate them both more than the actual show. The voice acting here is very awkward, with some casting choices that have left me scratching my head wondering why were they chosen. Hiro’s voice actor is not good but at least I can say he sounds his age. Ichiro’s voice actor makes it as if his geriatric disease was out of control and he was in his early 20’s the entire time. Maybe an English dub will fix this, but as for now I can only judge it by how I heard it and it wasn’t pretty.
All in all, Inuyashiki is the kind of anime you’ll enjoy on the surface, since there isn’t anything deeper going on than an edgy teen acting like a supervillain with Ichiro nearly always appearing too late to stop him. It’s definitely an experience that most anime fans won’t have seen before, providing the kind of shocks and thrills that will get you easily hooked to the show. Is it poorly written? Yes. Does it have poor characters? Absolutely. Are the production values bad? Well they certainly aren’t great. But was it fun? OH HELL YEAH! Some of the purest schlock I have had the pleasure to come across, and no matter how many problems I can point out with this show, I cannot bring myself to hate it. One could call it so bad it’s good, but terms such as “good” and “bad” do not do the show justice when it comes to expressing how I felt about Inuyashiki. If you’re looking for an anime that you want to enjoy and is unlike everything you have probably ever come across, this might very well be what you’re looking for.