Anime Review - Demi Human: Ajin

Ajin: Demi-Human

"Iyaa, Tsukareta ne"



Over the past weekend, we tried to give “Demi-Human: Ajin”(亜人) an honest review. However, the entire franchise had 3 animated films, 2 seasons of the anime adaptation, an on-going manga series, a live-action movie, and 3 OVAs. After watching only the movies, we're already quite hooked onto the series.

The story revolves around Ajin(s), immortal beings that have impressive regenerative abilities. In addition to being unable to die, they have the ability to manifest a "black ghost" made from Invisible Black Matter (IBM). These IBMs can’t be seen by any normal humans although they can interact physically with their surroundings. Some of them has the ability to effectively paralyze anyone through their "screams". They live in secrecy throughout the world as they fear of being captured by the government to be tortured on through cruel scientific experiments.


Characters


The plot follows a young protagonist named Kei Nagai (永井 圭 Nagai Kei) who seems like your typical hardworking high-school student wanting to achieve high-grades to secure a good career. We soon find out that Kei is an Ajin after he got ran over by a truck due to him zoning-out while walking towards an ongoing traffic (Yes, this actually happened. The "Isekai force" is strong in this one).

Unfortunately for him, he got revived almost immediately and was seen by his fellow students from his class as well as several bystanders. This caused an immediate commotion as Kei realizes he is now a wanted-being by the government. To note, anyone who captures an Ajin and hands them over to the government is rewarded one million Yen in cash! 


Kei Nagai

Kei tries to escape and runs into the mountains and since he has no one he can fully trust, he decides to call a childhood friend, Kaito for help. Kaito was a close friend of Kei until the latter’s mom separated them, calling Kaito an unhealthy influence on Kei. As Kaito finds Kei in the mountains and offers to help him escape from the city via a bike. It was during this time when Kei realizes he could paralyze nearby humans as well as slowly manifest his IBM. Kei decides if Kaito continues to help him, he'll be putting him in danger from the government and other bounty hunters thus leaving Kaito and continuing his journey alone.

A man called Sato was introduced as he initially seemed helpful to Kei. They meet up at a shrine and exchanged information but got interrupted when Kei was shot with a tranquilizer and blacks out only to be captured by the government. In short, Sato wanted Kei to be experimented on by the government in hopes for him to foster hatred and anger towards how their society treats Ajin. 


Sato-san

However, Sato realizes Kei has not manifested any hatred or even emotions towards his experimenters, even finding out that Kei chose to let his experimenters go when Sato wanted to execute them. It was at this point in the story where we realize Kei has little to no empathy towards anyone, even to his family members. That said, Kei tries to fend off Sato from killing the experimenters, even fighting Sato and going against his point. 

This is where the story truly starts as Sato intends to mass murder civilians to “protect” Ajins and fight for their “rights” while Kei tries to empathize with humans and slowly fight on the same side with them against Sato.


Animation

As you may have noticed, Ajin isn’t a traditional 2D animation, it uses 3D computer-animation instead. Renowned for Blame!, Godzilla the anime trilogy as well as animations for game titles such as Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter V, Lollipop Chainsaw, etc. Polygon Pictures is the studio that animated the Ajin film trilogy, directed by Hiroaki Andō and written by Hiroshi Seko. Presumably, the use of computer-animated 3D models is mostly focused on moving the IBMs in a fluid and smooth manner. The fight scenes can be gory and brutal as you can expect a lot of decapitations and blood.


Izumi getting impaled

Music

Looking into the Openings and Endings for Ajin, we have a total of 5 different songs. The first opening is composed by Flumpool, titled “Yoru wa Nemureru kai? (Can you sleep at Night)”, the second opening is composed by Angela x FripSide, titled “Boku wa Boku de Atte”. The ending for the first season is called “HOW CLOSE ARE YOU” composed by Mamoru Miyano. As for the second season of the Anime, the opening is again composed by FripSide x Angela, titled “The End of Escape” while the ending is composed by CreepHyp, titled “Koutei no Sumi ni Futari, Kaze ga Fuite Ima Nara Ieru ka na”


Ajin official soundtrack


World Setting


The story we follow is set in modern Japan, the major difference is that the existence of Ajin is a common knowledge everywhere around the globe. Everyone learns about them and the subject is taught in school as history lessons. The horror that lies behind is that although the government claims that they protect Ajins and hide them in safe places. The reality is that behind closed doors, many of them experience cruel and inhumane experiments for commercial and economical uses.


Conclusion

When looking into the characters for Ajin, mainly Sato-san and Kei, we are shown that they have somewhat similar goals and traits. At first, we view Sato-san as someone who is just trying to look out for Ajins, fighting for their rights to live peacefully with humans. We later discover Sato, like Kei, can be cold and unsympathetic towards practically anyone. Again like Kei, he is willing to use anyone for his own goals without caring about their safety. On his own, Sato-san is very manipulative and extremely tactical. He is dubbed by the government as the “Most Dangerous Ajin”. In Kei’s case, he was introduced as someone who just wanted to live a normal live until everything turned upside down when he became an Ajin. As the story progresses, we start to realize Kei’s narcissistic behavior, from disregarding his best friend, Kaito to him admitting that he literally cannot feel other people’s pain and sympathize with them. However, he does see value in human lives and since he lacked any sort of emotions (including hatred), he is the best bet that humanity has in facing against the terror of Sato's ideology.


Written by Kurai

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