Jan 8, 2016
Beobachter (All reviews)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Anime.

Kagewani probably wouldn't leave much of an impression with its first episode.The animation is very janky with everyone and everything moving awkwardly, and there's nothing in its narrative set-up that suggests it would be something more than overly repetitive vignette of 'random silly people getting offed by monster of the week'. However, it does feel like it ups its execution for every episode afterward, ultimately becoming a net positive experience for fans of this particular sub-genre.

The animation (which could be aptly described as something like motion comic) eventually gets easier on the eyes, along with the choreography. There's enough variety of setting, beasts, and the way the characters react and try to outsmart them in each vignette to maintain my interest and keep me on the edge of my seat. I'm also satisfied by the level of storyboarding overall, with most episodes making effective use of its 7-minute runtime. The atmosphere is spot on, the many voice actors sound appropriately tense/frightened/determined, and suspense tends to be nicely built up leading to the climactic money shots—the definitive moments of the series where the camera reveals the featured beast in its full glory and monstrosity.

I may have fallen from my seat a few times while watching. Maybe it’s just the creaky chair, though.

The show's format does make the attempt at overarching plot suffer a bit. Main character Sousuke Banba and his mysterious vibrating scar don't really have anything interesting to do until around the last three episodes or so, and there are times when the end of an episode doesn't transition well to the next one plot-wise. The ending itself is pretty nice, although it also left a few questions hanging in the air and tantalizing tease for a second season (which I'm not sure is coming, but I'm hopeful).

Kagewani's a definite recommendation for anyone with slightest interest in kaijuu/cryptids/mythical monsters, and it's also worth a few episodes' try for others who wouldn't be scared away by its general format and animation style.