Hitori no Shita: The Outcast – Preview
Hitori no Shita: The Outcast:
Original Air Dates: Jul 9, 2016 to ???
Synopsis: In a rural town the local graveyard is desecrated as a grave robber searches for something. Zhang Chulan is called back to town upon hearing that his grandfather’s grave was broken into. There he finds a girl posing as his forgotten half sister. When he finds her at the graveyard, Zhang Chulan confronts her but quickly discovers all the corpses have come back as zombies. The girl, Baobao, abandons Zhang Chulan and leaves him to die. But as it turns out, Zhang Chulan somehow survived the zombie attack and burned them all to a crisp. Curious as to how, Baobao is sent by her allies to infiltrate Zhang Chulan’s university and discover his secret.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Hitori no Shita doesn’t misrepresent itself. Right from the opening animation you get the sense you’re in for a budget affair. Rather than the normally impressive visuals one comes to expect from anime openings, we’re greeted with opening credit animation that looks no better than what you might see in a budget episode from Naruto. There’s a severe lack of detail present making the whole thing feel drab and unimpressive. This is probably when Hitori no Shita is visibly at its best.
Linny: The show is based off a Chinese manhua and so you may notice some differences in the character designs but most clearly in the names as characters have decidedly non Japanese names. The show also uses certain terms that made no sense to me and I wonder if they’re Chinese slang, in particular the term DT which we figured meant something akin to a virgin, but couldn’t figure out what the exact term would be. Aside from the unfamiliar names and terms, there’s also a ton of mystery in the story itself. Zombies appear but we have no idea how or why they do, powers and secrets are constantly alluded to but not a single one actually shown or discussed in clear terms to set up a central plot. While it’s natural for a show to keep things hidden in order to keep the viewers curious, this first episode does a poor job of it. We know so little about our protagonists, Chulan and Baobao that it’s likely viewers will struggle to care about them too.
Tom: If anything the plot feels half done. There’s all this talk of grave robbing, a police presence, etc, but the investigation just abruptly ends once the sun sets. There’s no police tape, no officers guarding, the whole situation is treated with so little care and disinterest that I have a hard time finding it at all a big deal if even the local law enforcement gives up after twenty-four hours. Not to mention that our main character, Chulan, is dragged into a grave by this girl pretending to be his half-sister and does little to fight back. Initially he mouths off to her and is completely ready to throw down, but as soon as she chucks some dirt onto him, he wails around like it’s his kryptonite, bawling for her to spare him. When she pauses, he suddenly gets his fight back. It’s a really odd sequence and I don’t think it at all works and speaks to the very odd plotting and character issues Hitori no Shita is suffering from.
Linny: It doesn’t help that Chulan’s supposed and mysterious half sister, Baobao is designed to look like your classic Asian horror movie female ghost stereotype. She has long black and unkept hair that covers her face. She is completely emotionless. All this combined makes her feel less like a gripping character and just another forgettable Asian ghost even though she isn’t a ghost… at least I don’t think she is. Chulan, himself, acts weird and changes his behaviour constantly like Tom described. However, when he decides to pretend all the crazy stuff he went through never happened, it was the only time I thought of him as a believable character. It seemed understandable to me that if one had a really scary and unexplained night, you’d want to forget it ever happened, chalk it down to a crazy dream rather than face scary reality.
Tom: Chulan is a very comical character, or is meant to be anyway. Even when faced with zombies and a girl trying to kill him, Chulan seems more silly and aloof in his mannerisms than fit with the situation. It doesn’t help to sell any of the tension and I think it was a mistake to keep him so comedic even when facing a serious threat. The girl herself, Baobao, is exceedingly bland and uninteresting. She’s supposed to be one of those emotionless bad ass female characters, but there’s not enough unique about her to make her stand out amongst an archetype so prevalent and over used.
Linny: If you’re curious about the state, style of animation and story telling in other Asian cultures besides Japan, The Outcast might have been a good introductory show were it not for the subpar animation and bland characters. Seeing how it has a lot of supernatural elements and even a ghostly looking lead girl, it might have a shot of engaging fans of horror and supernatural stories but the weak storytelling and bland characters makes it difficult to stick around past the first episode.
Tom: Hitori no Shita is based off a Manhua which, for those who don’t know, is Chinese manga. This is my second anime based off a Manhua, the first being Freezing and so far I don’t have a very good impression of the content from that medium and culture. I’d like to think, however that Hitori no Shita is just a bad example of what quality Manhua should be like. All in all Hitori no Shita isn’t something I advise looking into. The story is underdone, the characters are boring and uninteresting and there’s far better anime available this very season. I suppose if you’re starving for zombies though then that’s a reason to mess with this one.
Hitori no Shita: The Outcast is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.