Kagewani is one of those anime that has very little reason to impress as it is one of the shorts of the year. You’ll probably watch Kagewani while eating something or doing something else. However as a mystery Kagewani isn’t really that mysterious, and as a horror it’s not quite scary either. However it manages to be a decent way of spending your time if you have nothing else to do.
Kagewani is pretty much a monster-of-the-week type anime series. Each episode focuses on some humans, they get attacked by monsters or cryptids, and they either survive the attack or not. The series is episodic, however the overall story is about Banba, a professor, who comes at the end of every problem for the first half of the series to do, well, nothing! But by the second half, the story starts connecting the cases together to find the overall truth of these monsters… well sort of. Most of the stories presented in this anime end up to be decent. It does use some horror clichés, however it does work well in this anime. The final arc by far is the one that intrigues the most, as it focuses on Banba. However, this anime felt very incomplete as it manages to leave more questions unanswered than answered. The ending makes you want more, not because you enjoyed it, but because you’re about to enjoy it. When it gets interesting, the anime ends, which is a shame.
Kagewani is a short anime series, as each episode is only 7:50 mins, so it never feels like you are wasting your time. Also, monster-of-the-week format does have you wondering what they’ll present next. The production values in the anime aren’t much at all. As a horror, it’s not really scary, but it does have some creepy moments. The anime does a good job in making a proper atmosphere for its stories. As a mystery, it’s not really mysterious. The “secret” of the monsters aren’t really that special, nor intriguing. However, as a short series, it does its job as a tea break.
As an episodic series, ever episode focuses on different characters, so no proper character development can actually take place. However, the characters that are present end up being doing the job well as they aren’t as generic as they may seem. In some stories, it might be the typical, helpless victim, but in other stories, characters are shown to be strong-minded. There is technically one protagonist in the series, Banba Sousuke, a professor who studies these monsters and pops up at the end of some stories to either help victims, or to investigate cases. His backstory ends up being somewhat well done for a short series.
The art style is quite unique, as it has this cardboard-cutout look to it. If I would compare the art to anything it would probably be Inferno Cop, however, Kagewani’s art actually looks like as if some effort was actually put into it. The art style is pretty detailed, and the cardboard look does look nice. One thing that is worth mentioning is that the art design for the monsters are great. Some of them end up looking very creepy and very well detailed. Character designs in this anime are decent.
There isn’t really much to say about the animation in Kagewani as its cardboard style animation prevents it from it looking smooth or neat. Characters move weirdly, use of depth isn’t proper, characters limbs feel weird. At times, it just feels plain distracting. It could have had better animations, even with that art style.
Kagewani has a lot of characters, though most of their seiyuu cast information is pretty hard to find. Most of the characters voice acted pretty well, as they manage to use good enough emotions for their part. Sugita Tomokazu, is a well acclaimed seiyuu, does Banba pretty well. Though he has the most demanding script in the series, it still isn’t much. Okiayu Ryotaro does Kimura pretty well too. Overall the voice acting in the anime ends up decent.
Voice Acting: 7/10
The anime doesn’t have any OP, however it has an ED, which is used for the last five seconds of each episode. The ED, “Arrival of Fear” is pretty decent as it has some catchiness to it. The sound effects for the monsters are okay. However the background music, which should play a fundamental part to a horror series, ends up feeling lacking. It doesn’t build up suspense whatsoever.
Watching this anime didn’t feel like it was hurting me as it was 8 mins per week. It was a good enough anime to watch while I was eating a snack or two. The anime lacks suspense and it isn’t really scary at all. However, its unique art style and monster designs and Sugita Tomokazu’s voice made things more enjoyable than it should be.
Kagewani should really be watched if you have nothing good to do or you want to watch something short. However with its art and monster designs and its length, it manages to become bearable. If you’re here for scares and thrills, don’t expect too much as the poor animations and lack of proper background music can halt your experience. Overall, Kagewani isn’t an anime that would be remembered at all as it is strictly average.
+ Unique cardboard-cutout art style and well designed monsters
+ Surprisingly nice backstory for Banba, and Banba as a character is interesting.
+ Voice acting was pretty good with Sugita Tomokazu doing justice to his part.
- Not really scary, nor really thrilling
- Some story cases were misses, and the “ending” is unsatisfying.
- Awkward animations, especially character movements.