If there is one show that continually makes me question why it even exists this season, it’s Inuyashiki. The other question is something that I hold for myself which is, why did I not drop it? There is absolutely nothing special about this show at all. In fact, I still wonder why Studio Mappa even produced it in 2017. Considering the amount of shows that this studio produced this year already, they could have put this off for a while. I think that would have really helped the end product in a lot of ways. Right now, it feels like a complete dumpster fire.
What is Inuyashiki? Describing this show is the most interesting part. Inuyashiki features two main protagonists. The first one is a fifty-eight-year-old man, Inuyashiki, who looks at least ten years older than he actually is. Inuyashiki’s family completely hates him and he is about to die from cancer. The second protagonist is a high schooler named Hiro who likes One Piece. That’s about it for that guy. How do the two of them relate to each other? This is the insane part. The two meet randomly at the top of a hill where an alien space ship appears, kills them both, and then rebuilds them as combat robots. Yes, that’s right. This is the show you are watching. Unfortunately, this show does not live up to this premise.
The first problem I have with this show is its episode construction. I know that this is an eleven episode anime based on a manga of some length that I don’t know of, so of course it’s not going to adapt everything. Still, I wish they choose ones that made the narrative make sense. Hiro, the supposed villain of this series, flip flopped back and forth between good and evil more than once throughout the duration of this show. You can’t do that in such a short amount of time, because it makes the character feel cheap. Hiro now feels like an emotional yoyo. Even if he does change for the better permanently, we can’t trust it. Next up is the random filler episode. This show barely focuses on Inuyashiki, our hero, as it is. Why was there a random mafia filler episode that barely focuses on him that came out of nowhere? That doesn’t make any sense to me. You think these writers would understand something about narrative flow or something.
My next problem, which connects to my first problem, is the characters. Inuyashiki the series never truly focuses on the characters at all. Maybe you see what good or bad deeds that each of them does, but are never given enough particular moments that makes them feel like genuine people. Telling us backstories is not effective on a visual medium, please show us who they are. All of this makes them feel completely un-relatable to me. Maybe we see how Inuyashiki’s life is like before he becomes a combat robot in the first episode, but the show drops the ball in developing him in any meaningful way later on. Sure, he saves people with his magic robot powers and he feels human when he does this, but why does it make him feel human? Because it makes him feel needed? Gives us something. Also, so what if Hiro takes about One Piece to someone he is about to kill. Maybe we do see him hide himself away from people when he became a fugitive, but seeing him lying around without any facial focus or his thoughts about the situation makes the experience pointless. His flip-flopping nature or crying when he thought he was the hero in episode 10 didn’t help me to understand him any better. Needless to say, these characters end up as robots, as ironic as that is. I wish this show could have some form analysis of what it means to be human. The bones for this were in the show itself, but the meat was never added to Inuyashiki’s skeleton.
Third problem, what genre is this show? Is it a political thriller? I don’t know about everyone else’s definition of a psychological thriller is, but Inuyashiki never digs deeply into our main character’s psyches to qualify for me; I guess it can be thrilling at times though. Just having police involved doesn’t qualify Inu for this genre. Maybe a mystery? Nah, nobody ever tries to investigate what is going on. All stuff happens on the news that we see our characters watch. Is it a science fiction series? Well, of course it is. It’s a series about magical combat robots trying to live out their lives after discovering their powers. Bingo, we got this one. Still, that’s a broad genre to put this under. Maybe a slice of life series? Yes and no on this one. There are some episodes that show how each character lives out their day, but it gets interrupted by the plot. Just like the character work and the parts that they wanted to adapt, there was no consistent tone, genre, or point that this show was leaning towards. Maybe this isn’t an issue for everyone, but it is for me. I like things that I watch to have a lasting edge or remark on it that would make the experience worth it. Inuyashiki did not have one for me.
Lastly, the graphics. Inuyashiki is a mostly cg show. The robot transformations, a lot o character animation, the fight scenes, and a few other things are modeled in cg. This is where my whole “they could have waited” on this show thing comes through. Studio Mappa has produced a large variety shows and a movie this this year. So many resources went to their other things (probably mostly for Bahamut: Virgin Soul, bleh), that Inuyashiki felt like an afterthought. They seriously could have waited to have all the hands and resources possible for this and just produce it later. There are some awesome action scenes throughout the series, but they would have looked better in traditional animation then cg. At least that is my opinion.
In the end, the only thing that I take away from this series is its action spectacle. Everything else is either too black and white or not defined enough for me. That’s the crazy and sad part. Somewhere in all of this, there is a good series. I see the makings of great potential with interesting concepts that could have been explored more. The one I talked about before, robot feeling human, for instance. I am just sad to say that this anime did not meet my expectations. I should have dropped this show before I wrote a post like this. I think writing two negative posts during this season is way too much. I’m not that big of a fan of writing negative things, but I need to be honest with myself.