Reviews

Apr 10, 2016
Ajin (Anime) add (All reviews)
Stark700 (All reviews)
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.