From the animation studio that brought you Kids on the Slope, Yuri on Ice, and In This Corner of the World, we have high expectations of MAPPA studios to produce another masterpiece. And boy, did INUYASHIKI (2018) deliver.
Meet Ichiro Inuyashiki. Old, friendless, and distant from his uncaring family, Ichiro is barely scraping by with his life. What is the purpose of life? What is life anymore? On one fateful evening whilst moping in despair and loneliness, he gets struck by an explosion of extraterrestrial origin and his body becomes replaced by an incredibly powerful, mechanical body.
After saving a homeless man from being beaten up by teenagers, Ichiro decides to utilise his newfound powers to live to his life’s potential. Fighting crime and healing those with near-death diseases, Ichiro now has purpose to live.
As a viewer, we didn’t know what to expect at first. An old man as a protagonist… really? At the beginning of the series, we had first impressions of Ichiro being a supporting character. However, Hiro has the makings of a well-deserved protagonist — he is compassionate, modest, and acts on his strong convictions of what is wrong and right.
But he’s not the only one with inhuman powers. A teenager by the name of Hiro Shishigami was also with him at the time of the explosion. When two people are blessed with the same powers, the fate of their lives and the world rests upon them. With great powers comes with great responsibilities. The only problem is — Hiro is using his powers for the wrong reasons. What is their destiny? Why are they the chosen ones? Will their paths clash in the end?
Becoming the ultimate psychopath, Shishigami uses his newfound abilities to murder people for amusement. In a world that is already saturated by yakuza and wrong-doers, Shishigami instantly kills people without hesitation.
It doesn’t matter if it is a mum waiting for her daughter to come home from school, or a parent bathing with their innocent child — he will murder them no matter what. No-one can stop him and he soon becomes the most wanted criminal in the country. Using powers for good versus using powers for evil — who will ultimately win this game?
Without any spoilers, prepare yourself for one of the greatest rollercoaster rides that you will ever embark on. If you’re thirsting for ‘rebellion’ anime with the likes of Death Note and Code Geass, Inuyashiki is that series that will have you hypnotised from start to finish.
Many anime series generally take their time to build the story in the lead up to the climax. However, Inuyashiki is a glorious gift that keeps giving. With no buffering at all, the story unleashes plot twists after plot twists, offering the audience no time to think and breathe.
There is no future guaranteed for anyone in the story, and the so-called future looks grim and uncertain. With this impending doom cemented on their doorstep, this would no doubt heighten the audience’s anxiety and enthusiasm for what is to come around the corner. Although the concepts of ‘adolescent rebellion’ and ‘good vs evil’ might be cliche and overdone in the history of anime, you simply cannot deny good storytelling.
In conjunction with the story, the animation was perfectly executed by MAPPA studios. Doing justice to Hiroya Oku’s original material, the anime mimics the manga’s explicit gore and violence in amplified detail. Inuyashiki presents one of the best stylistic animation that we have seen in a very long time, and we can’t help stressing how worthy the hype is, especially for a sci-fi anime series.
INUYASHIKI is an underrated sci-fi series that deserves to be on the top tier of any anime list. Although the explicit content and explored concepts might be confronting to some viewers, we personally love a combination of gore, violence, and discussion about existentialism. We highly recommend everyone to dig into Inuyashiki — two big thumbs up from us!
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