First Impression – Ajin – METANORN

First Impression – Ajin

Winter16-Ajin

The mystery/horror/supernatural combo of the season.

winter15-kyoWinter season has finally winded down with Ajin being one of its last offerings. As I said before, its Summer here and HOTTTTT (30-40C this week). So, I’m pretty much melting… Anyways, I’ve waited for this release quite a bit as the genre and premise fits my taste bill. Let’s see how the first episode faired on expectations.

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Ajin 01-00005Ajin 01-00004

Humanity did you in, bro!

Welcome to a world where humanity has discovered an immortal specie, Ajin, just seventeen years ago. They are unlike humans per definition, cannot be killed and have special powers. However, that doesn’t stop humanity to run horrid experiments on them, including pretty much owning their existence with close monitoring. It is unclear that the statistics shared is true or fudged. It’s hard to believe that in the entire world, there are just 46 Ajin with Japan possessing only two…? Sure, they might be 0.000 something percent of world population but what is their origin? Are they mutated humans or result of an experiment? Is the Ajin-trait a parasite or inborn? This and many more questions will circle until we discover what’s actually going on. But for now, the supposed god’s immortal army has been portrayed as something that is not human and should not be trusted.

In contrast, our protagonist is a far cry from a hormonal chuuni. Kei is an upstanding student, who takes his education seriously and is already preparing to take the medical field by storm. He wakes up early to study(!), and has a regular timetable of revision even without it being exam time. He’s of course despised by his classmates for being studious (who likes high-achievers anyways?), and uppity about his future. Though, he feigns amiability to his classmates, he hates himself for pretending not to know his childhood friend Kai.

Ajin 01-00015Ajin 01-00020

Baka nii-nii!

Kei’s ill sister and Kai seem to be the only people who are not pretending to be normal. They rather show personality with adamancy and indifference to the proper world surrounding them. Eriko speaks her mind about Kai and missing his presence, while Kai shines brightly in the dull world he exists (too loud or blonde for some but hey…); he is there for his friend in need and doesn’t even bat an eyelash on finding out that Kei’s an Ajin. Call this true friendship or blatant stupidity, Kai seems more normal in his rebellion than the drone humans, who are just going about their life, not paying attention to anything else.

It’s interesting to note how everyone tries their best to showcase normal social norms. Study, go to school, chat with friends, interact with everyone appropriately, gossip about in-things on the side and damn care about the world. Everyone does that but in this world scenario, the normal stands out as the abnormal because everyone is trying too hard. Kei’s mom makes her son delicious breakfast even when he doesn’t usually eat it, she also monitors his friends and ends contact with eccentric friends (Kai), without much explanation. Kei studies hard, talks to his classmates even when he dislikes most of them, he doesn’t misbehave with his mother even when she made him sacrifice a friend; he pretends to be a normal student but still, there is something dark lurking in the shadows, which only showed itself in the past.

Ajin 01-00027

Chill, bro, CHIIILLLLL!

And that is what comes to the fore at the throes of life playing a crescendo in his body after an accident, which was bound to happen with Kei oblivious to his surroundings. This dark music is unnatural and taboo for the normal world and the journey would be to discover more about Ajins and how Kei is one. There is abundant mystery here and the plot is ripe with hints and foreshadowing.

There are of course hints of human experimentation and military involvement. Whenever there is reference to military discovering something, it’s either always their fault or them informing the public too late about an epidemic or phenomenon, which was latent and aggravated recently due to their own prodding. There are many possibilities and it would be fun knowing who messed up where and what was the root cause.

As well, we are still to discover if Ajins are a threat to humanity or just misunderstood. We have only seen their bad side for now (the military soldier, killing everything that moved), but what can a bookworm with immortal powers do to harm others? Kei seemed completely normal until the big reveal so will his Ajin part take over and make him into something bad? I won’t be surprised if he does something rash or spontaneous with his powers after being thrown in mortal danger, as he’s already labeled a threat.

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Anata wa Ajin desu ka?

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Did you notice me not talk about the elephant in the room? Well, it is for those who have an aversion to full CGI animation series… but like Sidonia no Kishi, I would say this story warrants and fits well in this mould. Personally, I care about the story more than its presentation. I have literally gone beyond the beautification or brilliant animation. Sure, they are good to have but does it fit with the story, is what I most care about. The graininess and the special effects are spot on for Ajin and as a first episode cut, things ended just at the right moment with enough build to wait for the next episode.

I’m aware that Ajin was first released as a movie last year but the anime series will most probably cover more ground than the first part of the movie of 1hour and 43 minutes. This is the reason, I didn’t event check the movie out because I want to be spoilerless and enjoy the story. Overall this was a good start and I’ll definitely be following the footsteps of Kei and where they take him.

Ajin 01-00036

Kunato and Shizuka, is that you!?

About

The Boss lady of Metanorn, who makes it all happen. An animanga enthusiast, who watches/reads almost anything that strikes her fancy. Just beware of her Death Perception and always keep her happy. Regularly found at @KyokaiTM & #[email protected].
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19 Responses to “First Impression – Ajin”

  1. IreneSharda says:

    I’m not going to mince words, the animation in this is pretty off-putting. And I’m an advocate for series that happen to be all CG. I love Sidonia and BBK/BRNK is great despite some off animation moments. My reasoning is that if the story is good enough, then it doesn’t really matter what it looks like.
    But here, I don’t know, it’s almost too distracting even for me.

    Maybe my issue is that I’ve already read all 35.5 chapters of the manga, and so I know the whole story. It’s not an extremely well written story or anything. The tone seems to change halfway through and it goes from being one kind of story to another. There are really no likable characters and some of them (mostly the MC) seem to completely change personality inexplicably in the middle of the narrative. It’s a gritty, gory story at times that at first seems to have a deeper meaning, and then later becomes much more black and white.

    Now that’s not to down the tale at all, it is full of mystery, atmosphere, and has plenty of action and this first episode shows this, and this is just the start.

    I really want to see how they present the story though, it’s just that the anime isn’t really helping me get into it with the very simple animation and the fact that it had a lack of good subs. I feel like they missed a good opportunity here, but we’ll have to see where the series goes.

    • sonicsenryaku says:

      you know what had better cg than most cel-shaded cg anime coming out today…black rock shooter, and that came out years ago…it’s kinda sad.

      • Kyokai says:

        BRS had an amazing budget, mind. supercell is still a great name in the industry. In comparison, I believe this suffered in budget even more than Sidonia but then again this is just the start, so let’s see.

    • Kyokai says:

      I think one of the reasons you have gone off on this one is the original material. Whatever you say, if you have read the original source, the way you see the adaptation becomes different.

      I don’t see much difference in Kei except for him waking out of his pretend game of being nice to everyone. First episode is too soon to give a verdict on how he goes, just like how understanding Kai seems to be when if it was anyone else, would leave such an ungrateful friend in the dust.

      I’m definitely here for the story than animation and can easily watch raws now so I’ll be sticking with it. You can compare it to how this fairs to original material after a few episodes. 😉

  2. BlackBriar says:

    My other most anticipated and I was not disappointed. Overcooled and IreneSharda were recommending this to me on the Winter Anime Catalogue so highly in light of my preferences I had to check it out and the opening left a good impression. Gray area scenario between both sides lacking a clear cut answer? It’s welcomed with open arms.

    For an individual who’s experienced a life changing event, revealing a hidden truth, Kei pulled himself together quicker than expected. I mean, who wouldn’t mentally breakdown from such an ordeal?

    If the flashback is the sole evidence to go on, Aijin are not born but created through possession. Should that be the case, it leaves to wonder if there are means to revert the possessed back to normal.

    One thing for certain was no time was wasted in showcasing humanity’s most appalling side of its nature. I so wanted to kick the ass of that kid that pretended to have Kei’s back after the reveal but turned around and said on TV that he always suspected him. Tsk, vile hypocrite… Obviously, Kei was forced to distance himself from Kai because everyone suspected of being an Aijin but couldn’t prove it.

    Whether the Aijin are a threat or misunderstood is irrelevant for the most part as we’ve time and time again that when encountering a species other than themselves, humans would sooner kill them or turn them into weapons to control than accept understanding and make peace. Those who do defend them, the few that there are, are seen as sympathizers, getting labeled as traitors.

    Where the full CGI animation choice stands, I wasn’t put off by it. The CG is similar to that of Knights of Sidonia which already got a positive vote and it’s not as rough to deal with as this season’s Bubuki/Buranki. In my opinion, this show has smoother animation.

    Overall, very relevant to my tastes, so I have full intention of watching Aijin to the end.

    • zztop says:

      The CG’s by Polygon Pictures, which also animated Sidonia.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I had a feeling about that. They didn’t even try to hide the connection. Not that they’d need a reason to do so, anyway.

        • Kyokai says:

          I thought readers would get my ending hints on the production being the same. 😉

          • BlackBriar says:

            I think it’s because most would find the connection too good to be true unless there’s hard evidence.

      • IreneSharda says:

        I don’t know why the CG here is more off for me then it was in Sidonia, but I think that the story had a lot more mechanical and space scenes that worked in favor with the animation rather than against it. Here, I think the normal town setting and slightly lower frame rate work against it.

    • IreneSharda says:

      I really think you’ll like it. It does have flaws like any other story, but its still extremely engrossing and fascinating to watch unfold.

      I wish they were able to push more the fact that Ajin are not seen as human at all, in order to kind of press how much the people that find out they are Ajin, have to hide. Yet, they should also press that really, despite not seeing Ajin as human, it’s emphasized that people are not afraid of them. The governments of the world have pushed hard to let people know that Ajin are just like humans (other than the immortality and freezing voice thing). I did feel that took away from the whole “afraid of things they don’t understand” trope.

      It goes back to the whole human vs. other species issue. As I said, as of right now, I’m somewhat on the side of the Ajin, but just barely. I don’t know what side you’ll be on though. 😀

      • BlackBriar says:

        I did feel that took away from the whole “afraid of things they don’t understand” trope.

        If they could’ve pushed it further but didn’t, that may not be an issue at all as I believe it’s something preprogrammed. Whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, I’m sure the viewers are well aware of humanity’s capacity for being cruel, destructive and antagonistic. Especially if encountering beings not like themselves. That’s why it would have me rolling my eyes if any series this serious sugarcoated human nature. You’d get points, however, for showcasing good and bad in equal measure.

        It goes back to the whole human vs. other species issue. As I said, as of right now, I’m somewhat on the side of the Ajin, but just barely. I don’t know what side you’ll be on though.

        Depends on the developments, the reasoning behind that enables to make respective arguments. If a side can get me to care more about them than the other.

        Watching these types of shows, I’m always finding myself siding with the non-humans because they’re ill-fortuned minority. Even though there are waywards, the focused ones just want to be left alone but are forced to do what they must to survive. Whereas the humans on the other end, the numerously populated race, are portrayed as ignorant, arrogant, hypocritical, selfish and ungrateful. Taking for granted everything they lay their hands on. It all looks one-sided and unfair.

        When I watch certain vampire series or Tokyo Ghoul, for that matter, and see the humans gripe about this or that one getting killed, I stop and think “Hey, they’re just following the food chain, same as you. It happens and can’t be helped”. Think about it: If the creatures humans preyed on for food and others taken advantage of for other means could revolt, there’d be hell to pay.

        • Kyokai says:

          One thing for certain was no time was wasted in showcasing humanity’s most appalling side of its nature. I so wanted to kick the ass of that kid that pretended to have Kei’s back after the reveal but turned around and said on TV that he always suspected him. Tsk, vile hypocrite… Obviously, Kei was forced to distance himself from Kai because everyone suspected of being an Aijin but couldn’t prove it.

          The degree of assholery of general public varies but I sure hated most of Kei’s classmates and his mum. The classmates are juvenile so I understand their idiocy but what did Kai do when he was a kid to tick Kei’s mother off? He seemed like a normal and pumpy kid (minus his blonde highlights), so why did Kei’s mother forbid him to be friends with him? I assume Kai’s parents or some relative is either an Ajin or related in some shady business? Which might be the reason behind Kai being so understandable, but I sure want to find out.

          The fun of watching such series is all about taking sides and seeing things objectively. I definitely side with minority most of the times but let’s see what Kei does with his powers and if any of the other Ajin are decent enough. Let’s see how this goes.

  3. zztop says:

    Ajin’s artist, Sakurai Gamon, wants to return to his hentai manga roots after he finishes Ajin.He tweeted he “feels his abilities are lacking” in his current role, and insists he will return to drawing hentai under his penname, G-10. His previous work was lolicon hentai, BTW.

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2016-01-18/ajin-manga-creator-plans-to-return-to-ero-manga-roots/.97713

    • Kyokai says:

      That’s one information I didn’t need to know. 😛

      But then again, there are so many mangaka who learn from hentai. It’s their playground after all.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Is it so surprising these days? Shokugeki no Soma’s artist used to draw hentai manga. Hentai has become very mainstream. Even some regular seiyuus have crossed into that territory voicing at least one or two characters for a hentai anime. Like Yuu Asakawa (Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works’ Rider, Akame ga Kill’s Leone) and Hitomi Nabatame (Fate’s Bazett Fraga McRemitz).

        • Kyokai says:

          Heh, I’m not surprised at all. It’s the cogwheels of the industry. Every voice-acting job pays the bill and if you are a serious seiyuu, all jobs are equal. After all, it provides variety. I’m pretty sure except for maybe Mamoru Miyano every major male seiyuu has voiced in a BLCD (and yes at least 70% of them include kissing scenes and even much more), and same goes for female seiyuu (though, most of them do not use their actual names rather aliases). Porn/hentai sells so no worries and let’s get on with it. 😉

          • zztop says:

            Why no Mamoru Miyano in BLCD? Does he have a policy against it?

            • Kyokai says:

              I guess it’s mostly his personal preference? He has done drama CDs and extra fan disks but not BLCDs.

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