INUYASHIKI LAST HERO – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Ichiro Inuyashiki was a boring office worker living a life shunned by his family and coworkers. One night, a UFO crashed into him, and his body was rebuilt into a powerful robot. A high school student named Hiro Shishigami was also involved in the same accident, and he begins to use his new powers to enable his darkest impulses. Is man’s true nature good or evil? (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: What immediately grabs you about Inuyashiki’s premiere is that it’s all centered around a rather unusual protagonist. Among the sea of shows with teenage or young adult heroes, Inuyashiki presents a hero who is old enough to be the grandfather of the hero rather than the hero himself. Not only that, his personality and physique isn’t hero like at all as we watch him lead a downtrodden, lonely and miserable life compounded by his own meekness, painting him as the epitome of unlikely heroes.
Tom: Indeed Inuyashiki does a great job of portraying it’s titular lead as a true tragic individual. It’s not uncommon for anime, or stories really in any medium, to bungle this, going in ‘too hard’ on a character’s pathetic nature. Sometimes it can come off forced, or try hard, and make the character from a tragic one to an annoying lead who’s life feels conceived rather than honest and realistic. But Inuyashiki doesn’t take things too far, painting Ichiro into just enough of a corner than we feel for him. His sad circumstances of unfeeling kids, an oblivious wife, lack of wealth and failing health feel unnervingly unfair.
Linny: The first episode is brutal and contains some rather upsetting scenes of teenagers engaged in sadistic behaviour aka ‘hunting’ and hurting homeless people as some kind of twisted sport. This could unnerve a more sensitive viewer. But it’s not all done for shock value as ultimately, justice prevails, which makes for catharsis and relief as you watch it all unfold.
Tom: When the show shifts to its more sci-fi nature and Ichiro wakes from a sudden death experience to find himself now a super powered robot, it’s jarring. Up to that point Inuyashiki is an incredibly grounded drama, and with the snap of a finger it all shifts away to focus on this sudden development. There’s probably a smoother way to do it, one that more fluidly transitions between the two, but it’s a small quibble and just that: a quibble. Inuyashiki is a joy of a ride and seeing this down trodden man finally do something he can truly be proud of, like kicking the delinquents’ asses, is inspiring and brings a smile to your face.
Linny: Now for those averse to CGI, know that Inuyashiki does make use of it, mixing it in with traditional animation. The good news is that it blends in well for the most part but if you are extremely averse to CGI, the times it stands out might get on your nerves as they do happen noticeably in the premiere episode.
Tom: I might go farther and say the one place Inuyashiki doesn’t quite hold together is indeed the CGI blending. There’s a few cases where the dog Ichirou picks up, frequently depicted using CGI, actually blends really well, and might even fool you. But too often the CGI is painfully obvious, and while never bad by itself, that disconnect between the 2D animation and 3D remains visible.
Linny: As someone who’s reviewed and been keeping up with the manga thanks to Crunchyroll’s manga library, I would like to mention that the story gets a lot more violent and over the top as it continues. For those worried about potential fan service thanks to its author’s previous works, Gantz for example, need not worry. There is nothing remotely close to that level of sleaze in Inuyashiki. So far, Inuyashiki’s anime adaptation is off to a great start, following the manga pretty faithfully, and doing a great job of selling its tragedy and its action. If you love your sci-fi with a scoop of the outrageous and a strong vein of emotions, you’re probably going to have a great time with Inuyashiki.
Tom: Overall, Inuyashiki has an incredible premiere. One that successfully hits both its dramatic notes and sci-fi, satisfying expectations from either genre. It’s great to see a character type take center stage that’s so often avoided in anime, and Inuyashiki has quickly become one of the series I’m most excited to follow along with through the Fall season.
INUYASHIKI LAST HERO is available for streaming via Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel