Kemono Michi: Rise Up – Anime Preview
Synopsis: 3,2,1…RUMBLE! Genzo, Japan’s number one animal-loving pro-wrestler, gets transported to another world where magical beasts run rampant. In order to save the kingdom, the princess asks him to rid the world of the beasts, but he refuses and wants to save them instead! Genzo opens a pet shop for his new beast friends, but he gets too attached to them and is unable to sell them which leads to constant financial problems for his new shop! Join Genzo and his cute demi-human employees as they find loving homes for the many beasts of the kingdom! (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Kemono Michi serves up meta humour from the get go, letting you know this is one comedy that’s going to be a little unusual. From our protagonist, Genzo, asking others not to interrupt his monologue, to having his adorable little pup perform wrestling moves alongside him in the ring, all make for a promising opening for those seeking an unorthodox comedy.
Tom: Kemono Michi basks in the typical Isekai set up by taking one central component and turning it on its head: Our lead. Genzo is anything but your usual Isekai main character. Genzo is a crazed animal lover and pro-wrestler rather than your bog standard, NEET gamer nerd. The way he reacts to his transportation into another world is set so far apart from what we’d typically get that Kemono Michi manages to make what’s old feel fresh and totally new again. It helps that Genzo is just the right amount of idiot: He doesn’t even blink at the idea that he’s been teleported to a new world and is instead all in on the idea that he’s now living in a world with all manners of new animals and monsters to become obsessed with. It’s that crazed love of animals that keeps Kimono feeling fun, even when its humor maybe straddles a few uncomfortable lines. Like most animal lovers in real life, Genzo has trouble respecting personal boundaries with the very beasts he finds so adorable. (Who hasn’t tickled the tummy of an unhappy kitty or two?) Genzo isn’t in the world more than ten minutes before he’s squeezing, hugging, tickling and petting any animal he comes across. It’s a perfectly fine gag when applied to straight up beasts, but Kemono Michi’s world is brimming with beastmen, half men half animals, and things almost feel a tad molestation-esque when Genzo’s fervent groping is applied to any of the more human characters. It’s generally not a pervy gag for pervert’s sake, but it’d be understanding if this particular, ongoing joke becomes a deal breaker for certain audiences.
Linny: Going back to Genzo as a lead, Kemono Michi does spot on work of utilizing his dense demeanor to great effect. Watching his clueless and innocent reactions to the messy situations he creates for himself make for some of the most solid jokes in the episode. The whole shtick about him loving animals a little too much really comes into full play once he crosses into the fantasy world and as Tom mentioned, could potentially be going too far for some viewers. In fact, I’d argue that it’s truly hard not to call the humour perverse as the episode happily uses innuendo to imply some rather un-broadcastable events happening onscreen. For now though, Kemono Michi seems set to be the adventures of a group of idiots fronted by Genzo, the densest one of all. The first friendship he’s struck so far is with a wolf girl, Shigure, who seems to be her own brand of strange and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the show’s overall trend; Genzo coming across increasingly ‘special’ individuals. Kemono Michi is definitely not something that should be taken seriously, as otherwise its animal loving gags come off more disturbing than hilarious. Besides that, the show is also not one for logic as Genzo is able to roam around ‘mostly’ free, right after German supplexing the princess who summoned him in the first place. If you like your comedy to be quirky, and flirt with crossing the line of appropriate behaviour, you might want to give Kemono Michi a chance.
Tom: Potential viewers should also be aware that Kemono Michi isn’t afraid to ogle the ladies. While the show is generally equal opportunity, having Genzo parade around in little more than spandex undies, we stop the episode several times to ogle the beast girl’s and their curvy proportions. This is ‘justified’ by having Genzo ogle the proper beasts as well, but it’s something of note all the same. Otherwise Kemono Michi: Rise Up starts the Fall season on a decent note. If it can vary up Genzo’s one track humor, and not get too pervy/weird with Genzo’s affection for animals, or more particularly Beastgirls, then it could remain one of Fall’s top titles.
Kemono Michi: Rise Up is available for streaming via Funimation.