Young detective Sonia Summers has been transferred to the outskirts of the port city Libra after stirring up trouble with her superiors. Libra is separated into two sectors—"the Upper", the center of wealth and politics, and "the Outside". The Outside is home to crime, corruption, and curious incidents involving monstrosities or youkai. Each case that Sonia works on seems to implicate the involvement of these mysterious creatures.
Sonia crosses paths with three peculiar humanoid youkai — Bem, Bela and Belo — who seek to protect humans and fight against the evil youkai that terrorize them. Living as "Youkai-Ningen," they are excluded by other youkai for their human-like lifestyles, and rejected and hurt by humans when they reveal their true forms.
Despite the hardships they face, these three Youkai-Ningen secretly live among humans, continuing to pursue their dreams of one day becoming human as well.
Note: This is my first review and I am not a harsh critic on everything except story since I am not an expert reviewer who pays attention to ALL the details.
Story: 5/10 - Since this is a remake of an old anime and since episode 12 got rushed. It would've been better if there were some fillers to flesh out the small stories.
Sound: 8/10 - I usually never rate sound. I don't even know what this is. Voice acting is "very good"/10 (since I don't know what is good and bad) and the choice of opening and ending is 10/10.
Character: 6/10 - I love main
characters in general, but I LOVE the side characters in general even more. The MCs are well developed, but since the story was rushed, it was inevitable that the characters would be less fleshed out as well. Even if we know the outcome, and even if they are generic, I would still love to see more.
First things first: this is not original work, but I have never seen the source, so I will judge this one on its own merit. And oh boy I do have much to judge. Lets start with the easy part:
-Art. Pretty mediocre, with some parts looking pretty bad to be honest. At least it is not CGI, but it isn't much.
-Sound. Good opening, forgetable everything else.
-Story/world. And here the real problems begin. World is awfully inconsistent, while main trio of monsters look like each other and are of one style, their enemies are something that looks like from
a comic book - flashy, unique and completely unfitting into the rest of the setting. If there were different ways how people became those enemies - it maybe could pass, but they are all made with SCIENCE by one mad scientist, so why do they very this much? The overall flow of events from episode to episode is pretty disconnected, while characters are the same, I always got an impression that something was missing, some key events or something like that.
-Characters. Well, not really much. MC try to become human cause reasons (really why, if they can't feel at all - they should not be able to feel jealous too). Their development is absent, they just get into fight and dispatch enemy of the episode while trying to look human when not engaged in combat. And here is another problem: there are LOTS of side characters, cause each of 3 monsters has his own contacts. None of them gets development, they are more like decorations, even though the cop girl could be a valuable ally on their road to humanity, and friends should be a valuable experience of human interactions.
-Enjoyment. None, to be honest. While I had hope after episode 1, it faded pretty fast. I don't normally drop reading or watching, so this was the only reason I even finished watching this one, it felt more like a chore and not like something one could enjoy.
Overall: waste of time, low budged, low efford attempt to grab some cash with a relaunch of an old title.
Well... it could've been worse. Unlike Arifuerta, where it was a beautiful mess, this was just a boring mess. I mean, it could've had some promise in it's early stages, but whatever we got, we got the worst version of it. It could've been a potential gem, but thanks to the underdeveloped writing, terrible characters and the awful world building.
First off, Bem is a terrible main character. After the pilot, he just becomes a nothing character even though the show is NAMED after him, but whatever. Belo is an annoying little shit that just comes off as obnoxious and Bela is the only character that
comes off as a little less bland then the others but that's only because she comes off as somewhat likable. All the other characters are as thick as glass.
Alice, as a character isn't a bad idea. Instead of only focusing on the monsters wanting to become demons, we also focus on a human that is investigating the demons. However, the biggest flaw in the show is that since the audience knows the demons and we mostly focus on them, when something happens with the demons we see it and then when the detectives investigate, they just regurgitate information that we already know. The detectives just become more and more pointless as the show goes and you question the point of them many, many times.
Also, the tonal whiplashes. These happen in virtually every episode (minus the pilot, which is the best episode I believe) where the tone could switch to two characters talking about their past lives and how they could be talking about something from a past life and then suddenly one of the characters gets hit by a giant bowling ball. The giant bowling ball is being thrown by a humanoid monster then looks like Elvis Presley. Yeah, it's that trite and stupid. It also doesn't help that the majority of the show, the tone just doesn't fit the villains. The tone feels dark and dreary, but then you'll have a psychopathic germaphobe that killed his abusive stepdad and Electro from Amazing Spider Man 2 except his electricity is yellow. You would think this would make the show interesting, but it somehow makes all of this feels stupid and boring. There's also characters like Gus and some other kid but their both terrible. All the other characters are either to bland or too obnoxious to care about.
The animation is basic and like Cop Craft, the show did not have a lot of animators to this project and you can see all the shortcuts they make throughout the series. The character designs look good but nothing spectacular. The music is the only part I would say is pretty decent. The OP is solid for a good bit and some of the other pieces are pretty solid and work within the show. But that's not enough to save this show.
Overall, Bem had potential but it was squashed. It wants to be everything: Different ideologies of wanting to be a monster or human, big monster fights, political intrigue, a police drama and so much more and it just never makes it come across as interesting and even when it puts up a decent idea or concept, it's used in the most boring way possible. This was truly a disappointment to finish off the summer season.
Politically, socially and philosophically (if you want to call it that way), BEM fails to create the serious plot that it wanted.
Remember, children. Showing vague social stereotypes isn't good if you're trying to make a serious criticism about it.
BEM takes place in Libra City, which is divided into Upper City (the city of the rich) and Outside (the city of the poor) through a bridge. The three protagonists meet on this bridge every night (and surprisingly no one ever discovers them there). The three Youkai Ningen save humans from different monsters, hoping that in the future they will become humans themselves. The plot doesn't sound
THAT bad, right? Generic, yes, but bearable. However, it's worse than that.
As I said earlier, the trio thinks they will become humans after saving other humans. Although the idea sounds stupid, Bem himself admits it doesn't have much foundation, so I'll ignore it. I'm more interested in talking about that desire to become humans they have, which hardly develops in the course of the whole series. We know they want to be human, yes, but nothing deeper than that. Personal reasons? No. Moment when they decided to pursue that dream? Nah. Other ideas to get it? To hell with that, they want to be human and that's it. Obviously, the anime ended without resolving this issue and instead gave us a fight against a giant that came out of nowhere. Finally, as the cherry on top, we have an open ending that leaves many questions unanswered.
We also have the individual stories of each character, which don't lead to anything interesting, to be honest.
I will focus on the three Youkai Ningen, Sonia Summers, Roddy and Daryl, and then I will make a brief summary of what I think of the rest I haven't named. First we have Bem, the leader of the trio and the poorest, since he has almost no personality. Unlike Bela and Belo, Bem's life revolves around becoming human. However, because he isn't the only one who fights against the monsters that lurk the city, he practically doesn't possess any trait that individualizes him from his companions. Although we could consider his interactions with Sonia as a distinctive, Bela and Bem also have contact with humans (and, let me tell you, the interactions between Bem and Sonia aren't memoriable at all). On the other hand we have Bela, a Youkai Ningen who attends school to feel more human and interact with them. Believe me, every episode focused on her was a torment. Due to her naive nature, harsh attitude and avenger complex, it's difficult to get attached to her. And let's not talk about her relationship with Roddy, which was only a tease for 12 episodes. In the end, we have Belo, the youngest of the trio, who hasn't yet passed his edgy stage and makes comments abut humans's nature as deep as a pot of mayonnaise. Don't get me wrong, Belo is my favorite out of the three, but his structure as a character is just as poor as that of his partners. Belo doesn't want to become human as much as the other two, resigning himself that this will never happen. However, this doesn't justify his bitter personality or his choice in enviroments (he wanders on Outside, while Bela studies in Upper Town, but we never have a clue as to why the younger of the two chose to settle there). Considering that his personality doesn't develop into something different in the course of the entire series, there isn't much to talk about him (although it isn't as if the other characters had any development either). But hey! If you thought this sounded painful, I regret to tell you that these three static monsters were even better treated compared to the secondary characters: Sonia, Roddy and Daryl. The reason why I put these three together is because the three play the same role: being flat and one-dimensional characters that serve so that the three protagonists can rely on them. Because c'mon, Sonia's "goody two-shoes" personality, Roddy's crush, and Daryl's unreal revenge, only served to give Bem, Bela and Belo more material to participate with. That's why it's not surprising that they made Sonia adopt a little girl (with whom the writers didn't know what to do) at the last moment, that Roddy got set aside without a clossure of his own, and that Daryl got easily forgiven by Belo and then became the head of an organization that controls Libra City, even though he's 13 years old. I'm not even going to talk about the Mysterious Lady, since we'd barely met her in one of the last episodes and then she already portrait herself as the main villain. And not to mention Agent Joel Woods who literally had no reason to exist, the ridiculously racist Helmut Felt, the stagnant and generic Dr. Recycle, Bela's friends that on the last episode turned out to be bitches, or the cartoony villains, God. The only characters I would save would be Belo's three friends, because although they had no development either, at least they were kinda sympathetic.
To be honest, this series can be entertaining if you like to sit down and not think much about what happens. However, if you are interested in well-developed characters and a promising plot, BEM will leave a bad taste in your mouth.