Netflix Awakens: the Anime Chapter

I’m always looking for something good to watch and I’m always trying to revive my paltry Japanese skills which I learned so long ago watching TV and playing with neighbor kids in Kagoshima as a boy. Thanks to a recent increase in the availability of decent anime on Netflix, I can do both pretty easily.

Ajin is a Netflix Original series about a boy named Kei who discovers he’s a Demi Human. He can’t be killed – at least not permanently. Society in general is trying to deal with the Ajin with varying methodologies. In Japan, they apparently favor the “round ‘em up and perform painful science experiments on them” approach, as Kei soon discovers. Kei has to figure out not only the answers to philosophical questions like “am I human?” and “what is that black ghost thing that’s following me around?”, but also who he can trust – a question that applies to both regular humans and other Ajin. Like any good series full of characters at odds with each other, Ajin masquerades and reveals motivations as needed to keep the viewers guessing.

In terms of artistic quality, it’s cinematic. The artwork is outstanding, and the people in the show are (mostly) realistically portrayed, including funky looking character motion that looks very real, as though actors and mo-cap are at play here, but off just slightly enough to increase dramatic and stylistic effect and remind people that they are, after all, watching anime and not a movie.

I am just starting episode 6 of 13 in season 1, and so far, it’s definitely a keeper. If you are rusty on your Japanese or don’t know Japanese to begin with, the subtitles are quite good at conveying the actual content and context of the conversations.