You have to be the cutest gravedigger I’ve ever seen
|I watched the pre-air, but I had to wait for the higher quality actual episode to come out. It was the best quality pre-air I’ve ever seen, but still not nice enough for screencaps. So now here we are with a review for the first episode!|
|Maybe the best first episode I’ve seen so far this season, Kami-nai is here~. …Or however your shorten this anime’s name. Anyways, I was pleased with what I saw this episode and it doesn’t look like Ai will be grating on my nerves like she did with me at the beginning of the manga.|
The Twilight Zone
Some kids play jump rope to pass time…others dig graves
Kara // As expected of Madhouse, this looked really nice. I’m not really a fan of Ai’s overly moe appearance, but it worked well with the entire art style they had going on overall. The lighting of the whole thing was REALLY nice as well. The constant twilight lighting (except that on time it was night) setting was really nice. It also worked well with the dead-but-not-really world in a kind of symbolic way. Or at least, it made everything look kind of surreal. As for the pacing, I was thinking that Hampnie killing the villagers and Ai burying them wouldn’t even happen until the next episode. So this was a nice surprise where I was expecting something slower and less action orientated.
Life Without Death
Cool // Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi (or Kami-nai) takes place in a world where no one is born and no one ever dies. The status quo remains the same. It’s interesting that all this happened because God realized he had run out of space in Hell or Heaven, said “OOPSIE”, and decided to screw everyone over by keeping them on Earth. You would think immortality – the one secret humanity constantly strives to unveil – wouldn’t be so bad. It is.
The “living forever” trade-off is immediately portrayed as being undesirable. Instead of showing possible benefits, Ai explains how horrible it is that people can be mortally wounded to the point where they’re beyond human recognition, but still be alive. Imagine being burnt into a repulsive mound of flesh by a fire and then still being alive. God created Gravekeepers to decide whether or not to kill these zombie-like creatures, thereby granting them peace. Otherwise, they’ll stay fully conscious in whatever godawful state they’re in.
What makes the Gravekeeper job so fascinating is that these people aren’t quite as much like zombies as I initially thought. At least, that’s what I gathered from the state of the guy who had half his brain blown to bits. He was far from being a brainless zombie, and was only interested in saving Ai. Not in devouring her or anything. That means these Gravekeepers aren’t killing monsters, but deciding when to put innocent people to rest. They have to decide when it’s right to bury someone or not. In normal cases, would they just let that man walk around normally with his face blown off or would a Gravekeeper force him into a coffin just because he “should have” died? I really hope that’s the case and people don’t just become zombies, but it makes for an interesting issue to provoke a myriad of moral dilemmas.
My Humps, My Humps, My Humps
Kara // Let’s talk about Hampnie Hambert, the man-eating toy or whatever he calls himself. …I feel like I know too much about him due to the manga, but let’s focus on what this episode chose to show us. Already, he’s pretty damn interesting. For seemingly no reason, he kills off an entire village, but yet, he leaves Ai alive even after he attacked her. He’s also using a fake name and knows a lot about gravekeepers. …Or maybe Ai was just never informed about them properly due to plot reasons.
I thought he was an okay character at the beginning of the series (he definitely fits within my preferred character archetype), but Hampnie does get REALLY interesting as the plot goes on. The person he’s looking for is a part of that, but he also has … circumstances. Plus his opinions of the world itself are pretty interesting (though that might be expected of a guy who slaughters an entire village and then makes an underaged girl bury them after kicking her ass). Does Hampnie have good reasons to kill the villagers, or is he just an asshole? Well, that should be revealed in the upcoming episodes. So if you’re worried about him being too one dimensional, don’t be too worried. He has his reasons, and they should be revealed fairly quickly. …Though whether you think they’re good reasons or not is up to you I guess.
Ah, good. They skipped a lot of the plot where Ai lived peacefully in the village with her surrogate mother and father (which was only useful for setting up thier later death scene to be more emotional… though it did hint at the villagers hiding something from Ai). So points to this episode for pacing. As for everything else, I don’t know what to say, other than it met my expectations nicely. The animation was nice, I liked the voice acting and I think it transferred over pretty well from the manga. As for the plot, like I said before on the summer preview, I’m really fond of the storyline. It can be a little confusing at first, but everything does seem to sort itself out eventually and this series has a lot of interesting little secrets despite how simple the plot presented itself this episode. I look forward to seeing the storyline reveal things~.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this show, since even it doesn’t know what it’s trying to be. The lighting and direction often goes for the dark, ominous feel. Everything is cast in the orange light of the sunset, as if night and all manner of terrible things are about to come the second that light is extinguished. The entire concept is also pleasantly dark: there’s a 12 year old who has to put people “to sleep” because no one dies. The concept itself sold me on the show instantly.
The downside here is that 12 year old looks like she tumbled out of shoujo anime. Ai has hands that are scarcely bigger than a box of matches and eyes big enough that you could probably see them from space if you tried. The magical girl attire really boosts her moe levels through the roof to the point where it’s cloying. I have no clue why they’d go for moe given how edgy and dark literally everything else in the show strives to be. Humbert’s design is a bit better, if not forehead-smackingly cliche. A villain with white hair, red eyes, and a trench coat? Someone followed the manual a little too closely here.
At times, the contrast works in the show’s favour. I really liked when Ai was just cheerfully going about her daily routine as she recapped how God forsook them. That sort of disconnect added to the unease and enhanced the message. Almost every scene after that impeded the message instead of enhancing it. The amount of lame jokes made me concerned for the future of this show. Kami-nai is at its best when it really focuses on the creepy as hell concept of people not dying, and just stumbling around with whatever wounds they accrue. With such an intriguing concept, I can only hope the direction takes a better turn and ditches the bad jokes and cutesy stuff in favour of more scenes that make you want to crawl outside of your skin.
Next week: who the hell is she???