The mystery/horror/supernatural combo of the season.
Winter 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.
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.
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.
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.
Anata wa Ajin desu ka?
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.
Kunato and Shizuka, is that you!?