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Ajin (Demi-Human) Review

We all go through life knowing eventually we're going to die, but what would you do if you found out death... couldn't touch you? In January 2016, Kei found out he couldn't die, and now everyone is after him to find out why. 

Directing this 13 episode (24 minutes each) animation/drama/adventure/horror is Hiroyuki Seshita.

Some of the voice cast is: Mamoru Miyano as Kei Nagai, Houchuu Ootsuka as Satou, Takahiro Sakurai as Yu Tosaki, Kaisuke Hirakawa as Koji Tanaka, Mikako Komatsu as Izumi Shimomura and Jun Fukuyama as Ko Nakano. 

Seventeen years ago, on a battlefield in Africa, we had our first sighting of an individual that couldn't be killed. Shot after shot, he kept getting up and going back to the fight. As time went on, more people with this  ability started popping up. These people are called Ajins (Demi-Humans). No one knows why someone becomes an Ajin or where their powers come from. Unfortunately, the only way to find out if you're an Ajin is when you die and come back to life. Even though the total number of Ajin's is small, they're considered a threat and are feared by most people, which is why when a high school student named Kei found out he was a Ajin the only choice he had was to run and hide. 

This anime, like so many others, started out as a manga that was created by Miura Tsuina back in 2012. However, after the first volume of the manga it was taken over by Gamon Sakurai, who has since been writing it. So far Ajin: Demi-Human has a manga with 7 volumes, 3 films, an OVA and a anime series. The films are Ajin: Shōdō (Ajin: Impulse), Ajin: Shōtotsu (Ajin: Collision) & Ajin: Shōgeki (Ajin: Clash). Now, the first film is a compilation of the first six episodes of the anime series. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing the second film will cover the next six or seven episodes, but I don't know (and can't find) what the third film will be about. The OVA called Ajin: Nakamura Shinya's Case gives us some backstory on a name that was dropped during the anime series and goes into more detail about Nakamura and the situation surrounding him. 

Sidenote: If you like the first season of the anime, word has it that season two will be out around October 2016. So, we'll have to wait and see (fingers crossed).

The story was written by Hiroshi Seko, and while I liked the idea, the play-through was a little lacking. I think part of that was due to the number of episodes in the run. It's hard to get a solid story in place with good character development in 13 episodes. Not that it can't be done. I'm saying it's hard to do sometimes. Now, the story is mainly about a high school kid that finds out he's an Ajin and is forced to live life on the run from the government, but there's another story going on at the same time. The secondary (and more interesting) story-line follows an old man named Sato, who is also an Ajin. Top secret video's have been popping up all over the internet showing cruel experiments being preformed on Ajins. Sato does a call out for fair treatment of the Ajins... or else a war is coming. So, Kei's story shows the struggle of a kid caught between a world that doesn't want him and one of his own that has no issue with showing the world what an Ajin is truly capable of.

The play-through was ok, but it moves kind of slow so you really have to give it a couple of episodes before deciding if this one's for you or not. Truthfully, I almost didn't finish this one, but things picked up (characters developed/story took off) and I'm glad I stuck it out because now I'm looking forward to the second season. Especially because certain things in the story-line are already in motion and all the players are already in place. So, the second season can just jump into it, which will make the second season a lot stronger and more entertaining (hopefully).

As far as the voice cast I thought everyone did a good job. The characters they played were a hit and miss for me. About half way through, the characters finally start to come to life, and you start to get into them. One of my favorite characters was Satou, who plays the main bad guy. Satou's character, oddly enough, is probably the happiest character in the whole show and you can't help but like him. Through all the bad stuff he does, Satou has his mind set that it's for the greater good, and he enjoys doing what he does. The main character, Kei, is supposed to be a cold and calculating individual, but comes off flat and boring. Unfortunately, by the time Kei gets interesting the show is almost over. Some of the other characters, like Kato and Izumi, seemed like they would be cool, but they were only used as support to the story and in really small doses. 

I can't say I'm a fan of the visuals, but I didn't hate them either. They used CG to make the anime, which I'm usually not a fan of. Here the CG gives it a sort of surreal vibe and it looks like you're watching everything through a hazy filter. However, the more I got into the story, the odd visuals kind of added an interesting element to it. Unfortunately, the movement is kind of choppy at times and I think they tried using slow motion during the action scenes to help hide the choppiness by making the action scenes look more dramatic. Even though this isn't a gory horror, thanks to some shootouts and creature attacks some of the scenes make a bloody mess of things. 

Overall, yeah this one has quite a few downsides, but the upsides pull it together and make it worth checking out. 

It's rated R for violence and language. 

3 stars