Original Run: October 13, 2017 - December 22, 2017 Number of Episodes: 11 Genre: Action, Drama, Science Fiction Based on the Series Created By: Hiroya Oku
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Inuyashiki. Reader discretion is advised.***
Ichirou Inuyashiki (voiced by Fumiyo Kohinata) is a fifty-eight-year-old man whose life is currently not in the best of places. Even in his own home, all Ichirou receives from others is resentment and indifference. That is why when he is diagnosed with stomach cancer and given only three months to live, Ichirou breaks down.
While lamenting his frail mortality at a nearby park, Ichiro sees a mysterious person standing there. But before any form of interaction can occur, there is a blinding flash of white light. When Ichiro wakes up the next morning, he has no memory of what happened afterward.
However, the human that was once Ichirou Inuyashiki may no longer exist.
To his horror, Ichirou was turned into a robotic-like being and now possesses superhuman strength, advanced technology, and psychic powers. Although stunned, Ichirou decides to use this second chance to bring some good into the world.
Unfortunately, the mysterious person who was at the park that night also underwent the transformation. And how the young Hiro Shishigami (voiced by Nijirou Murakami) decides to use his new abilities will prove to be nothing short of nightmarish.
Inuyashiki was a show I regret missing back when it came out in 2017. I’m glad to be finally getting around to it because this series had looked rather interesting.
Fortunately, it was; quite a bit as a matter of fact.
Now, I’m about to compare Inuyashiki to two anime that, if you’ve been reading my reviews on Anime Hajime for a long time, will seem contradictory. This show felt like a mix between Death Note and Gantz. Allow me to clarify.
For those who don’t know my thoughts on those two series: Death Note is what you might call a masterpiece whereas Gantz is trash (challenge me on that in the comments below if you wish).
Considering Inuyashiki, it was nowhere near as good as Death Note, but it utterly outclassed Gantz. However, what sort of baring did that have on this show overall? Mainly, this series managed to tap into the same source of tension Death Note did while at the same time, it created a similarly bleak contemporary-dystopian atmosphere that, to be honest, Gantz did well at despite its general awfulness.
Then again, it should be noted that the Inuyashiki–Gantz anime similarities may have something to do with them both being adaptations of works by Hiroya Oku.
Regardless of what series I was reminded of, Inuyashiki was distinct enough on its own to stand out.
Culminating this show’s success to a single point, the dual narrative between Ichiro Inuyashiki and Hiro Shishigami was what made this story so fascinating. For starters, I enjoyed how the typical protagonist/antagonist roles were reversed.
Here was a story where an older, less fit, and past-his-prime character played the hero. Ichiro, at the start of this series, was basically a defeated man. He worked at a job that didn’t appreciate him. His family treated him with disdain. He was the type of person people tended to overlook, even when speaking directly to him.
Ichiro had every reason to feel bitter towards the world, and yet, when he was given his powers, he chose to save those in need. That was his anchor to his humanity.
Conversely, Hiro was well-liked, good looking, and young. Towards the people he cared about, Hiro would go to great lengths to ensure they were taken care of. Unfortunately, if someone wasn’t a part of his tight inner-circle, then their existence was inconsequential. Thus, when he obtained his powers, Hiro became a murderous monster who killed indiscriminately and at random.
To Hiro, when he saw someone lose their life, that was when he felt the most human. And when he stopped caring about restraint, he racked up one of the highest body counts I have ever seen an anime character pull off.
With that said, another reason why this series reminded me so much of Death Note was because the amount of fear Hiro placed into the hearts of people made him a less charming version of Light Yagami.
In essence, Inuyashiki prevailed by doing the exact opposite of what caused the Gantz anime to fail.
Inuyashiki gave us a character, Ichiro, who was willing to back up his words with actions. When he said he was going to try and save as many people as possible, there was no standing around looking dumbfounded for ten minutes while watching someone who could have easily been saved be beaten to death. No, Ichiro would jump in when and wherever he was needed without hesitation.
Alternatively, we also got a character, Hiro, who was actually a threat. He was more than willing to use his abilities to achieve is own goals. Since he was already teetering on the precipice of madness from the beginning, when the inevitable consequences of his actions came, his fall was big and destructive.
Then when you add in a bunch of cool action scenes, a ton of satisfying revenge moments, and a healthy dose of tragedy, you have yourself quite the show on your hands.
There were three aspects to Inuyashiki that bothered me. Before mentioning any of them, let me make it clear that not one of them was enough to break this series. Granted, they did slow things down, but they didn’t prevent me from enjoying this show, and I’m willing to bet the same will be true for you.
First, Inuyashiki had horrible CGI animation.
Okay, “horrible” is a bit harsh. I mean, yeah, the CGI stood out like a sore thumb, and it made everything look like an awkwardly inflated balloon. I’ve seen worse, though.
However, I have also seen the show that I consider to be the current CGI standard bearer for anime, Land of the Lustrous. That’s actually a double hit against Inuyashiki since it aired during the same 2017 fall season as Land of the Lustrous. So, at the same time, there was a series that demonstrated what the medium can do and another which made it clear we still have a long way to go.
Second, the humor throughout Inuyashiki was always a tad wonky. It never really synced up with the series’ much darker tone.
For example, there were multiple scenes where Ichiro stood up to squads of ruffians. Although it was clear Ichiro’s advancements were going to make him unbeatable, what was the purpose of making him look like a comical wimp? Poor Ichiro would charge into battle eyes closed and arms flapping like a five-year-old. Why not just let the man throw a punch or two without turning him into a joke?
Third, the build-up to the ending.
I won’t say how Inuyashiki concluded, but I will warn you, the show will throw out a very quick remark that is going to cause you to do a double take.
“Wait a minute. What is about to happen and why in the hell aren’t more people freaking out about it? Yeah, there may be a psychotic killer who is capable of murdering all of Japan with his mind and superhuman strength, but even that should be secondary to what’s coming.”
Thankfully, the actual ending to Inuyashiki was fine. Getting to that point, though, probably shouldn’t have been as casual as it was.
This was a good one.
The story was interesting. The characters were fascinating. The action scenes, even with the not so stellar CGI, were a ton of fun.
I now know I should have highlighted this series when it first came out in 2017. I missed my chance then, but I am glad to have finally given this show its dues.
Inuyashiki gets a firm recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Inuyashiki? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.