INUYASHIKI LAST HERO – Mid Season Anime Review
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)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Like many anime this season, Inuyashiki’s art shifts all over the place. Sometimes it’s solid, maybe not inspiring and breathtaking, but competent. Other times character movement is off, models are lacking detail, and the 2D and 3D art never quite blends all that well, particularly compared to the visually stunning Land of the Lustrous.
Linny: For those who were unaware, Inuyashiki is written by the same author behind Gantz, Oku Hiroya. If that sentence made you wary, the truth is that Inuyashiki is a lot less sexual and exploitative than Gantz, but it still contains some shocking sexual violence content: such as in an episode revolving around a Yakuza boss who likes to go around forcing himself upon men and women. Thus, while it may not be anywhere as bothersome or surprising to someone who got through Gantz, it still has content that could bother a more reserved viewer.
Tom: Despite Gantz’s author turning down the edge, Inuyashiki is still bound to rub plenty of people the wrong way. It’s still at times quite edgy, or at the very least stunningly violent. It’s bound to make more sensitive viewers uncomfortable and should be avoided by anyone who finds these aspects off-putting. But much of the violence and edge is in relation to building Inuyashiki, our title character, as a power fantasy for the audience. Inuyashiki is an older man with a bum life. He looks older than he is, is downtrodden, under appreciated, but kind and good natured at heart. Since the series at times notes/mocks the detractors of the author’s first major manga, I wouldn’t be terribly adverse to someone arguing Inuyashiki himself is a Gary Stue type character/self insert. But either way, Inuyashiki acts as a power fantasy for the audience, transforming this meek elderly man into an unlikely hero. It’s often caked in reader wish fulfillment scenarios as we watch Inuyashiki stand up to injustice, or cure terminally ill individuals of their ailing plights. If you’re looking for a flawed lead, Inuyashiki isn’t really it, with his only major detriment being that he’s suffering a sever lack of understanding for his powers, making him play catch up with the main villain.
Linny: Our hero/good guy, Inuyashiki is a painfully pure and kind good guy in that he’s basically a martyr before and after receiving powers. It’s bound to make you roll your eyes as you watch him radiate nothing but selflessness and kindness while the whole world, including his own family, treats him horribly. On a smaller note, while Inuyashiki’s voice actor does a good job of emoting the meekness of the character, at times, he sounds awfully young and mismatched with Inuyashiki’s aged appearanc but this could just be a personal issue of mine. Moving on to our main ‘antagonist’, we have a young man who isn’t cackling with plans of world domination or taking extreme pleasure in torturing others. In fact, he’s got a rather calm and cold approach to murdering innocent people and he seems to be this rather eclectic mix between a sociopath and a psychopath. There are even times when his reactions seem to be that of an average teenager. However, because of how much time the show invests in painting him as an unfeeling and cold murderer, it’ll be hard for audiences to view him as anything else.
Tom: There’s a lot of time spent fleshing out our villain, Shishigami Hiro, an average teenager disconnected from the reality of his actions and apathetic to the plight of strangers. Fans of wholesome characters will hate the focus placed on Hiro, as the series paints his transformation from an apathetic, sociopath teenager experimenting with his new found powers, to a sick minded teen out for revenge over the way his family is treated. It’s not as if you’ll ever exactly feel sorry for Hiro, but with so much focus on his mental state and the toll events take on him, it might be a hard pill to swallow for viewers disinterested in exploring such a morally bankrupt character.
Linny: Inuyashiki may be a shallow story with characters that aren’t very believable but considering its creator, this isn’t surprising. However, for those who enjoyed Gantz, or wished it were less exploitative of its female cast, Inuyashiki proves to be extremely entertaining with a similar vibe of grandiose action and super powered humans, minus the frequent titillation. But you should also keep in mind that so far, there has been no big action packed showdown between the two super humans and the action never gets to Gantz’s level of crazy that left such an impression. In fact, Inuyashiki is best approached as a light character study of how two people given the very same power and abilities handle them in remarkably different ways. Most of this is likely to have audiences eager to see them face off but for now sticks steadfast to exploring the way these newfound super human powers change their lives.
Tom: I completely agree that Inuyashiki is more a character study than anything else. While I might say that our titular lead is more power fantasy than character exploration, offering an avenue for audiences to feel good as the evils of the world are righted with devotion and even-handed justice, Hiro’s journey is an exploration of his character’s transformation. It’s an interesting focus, and I think keeps Inuyashiki from feeling too stereo-typically ‘good vs evil’, by allowing us to explore our villain in an interesting, even if he is reprehensible, way.
Linny: If you enjoy over the top sci-fi involving super powered humans and have the stomach for shock value violence, you will likely enjoy Inuyashiki. It does have its fair share of flaws, such as sloppy animation and leads that feel rather far-fetched bordering on pure fantasy material. But if you’re seeking pure shallow action packed entertainment and a unique take on the age ol’ good versus evil story line, you won’t be disappointed.
Tom: Overall I think Inuyashiki is well worth anyone’s time, assuming they don’t have issues with darker subject matter and shock value edge entertainment. Gantz author, Oku Hiroya, has come a long way since his debut work that caught audiences in a frenzy of criticism and ‘love to hate.’ Still, his work holds elements libel to offend, and should only be approached by those more comfortable with entertainment delving into dark, ‘edgy’ topics and events. Inuyashiki is more evolved though, and offers an intriguing character study of its two leads, particularly our villain Hiro, making it a solid and enjoyable watch. The only issue is the art and animation not quite able to keep up with the wild world it’s trying to depict.
INUYASHIKI LAST HERO is available for streaming via Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel