Noitamina sure has been weird these past few years. For a channel block intended to appeal to audiences beyond the usual male adolescent crowd, it sure has pandered to it with a lot of its latest titles. I don’t want to complain too much since I still like some of what they air (I love Saekano for crying out loud) but I have the same feeling as I did when Cartoon Network delved into live-action in the late 2000s. You can’t help but scratch your head and say, “What?”. Maybe Inuyashiki will serve as a nice return to form, even if just for a season. It’s based on a seinen manga, for starters, and it’s certainly more out there compared to the other shows that have aired on Noitamina this year.
I really like the fact that the show stars an man in his late 50s (which by anime standards, is practically seniority) but good grief, every single human being in this world just hates the poor guy. It is heartbreaking that Inuyashiki is convinced his wife and kids wouldn’t care if they found out he has cancer but it also stuns me that even strangers are so rude to him. Honestly, Inuyashiki’s dog, Hanako, is the best supportive character by default, because she’s always there to comfort him even when he becomes a Terminator.
Speaking of which, that’s an awfully bizarre turn of events. The first nine or so minutes plays off as this effective drama where an old man begins to deal with his final days, only for an UFO just to crash land on him and convert him into a cyborg as an apology. What were aliens even doing on Earth and why did they just pop up and leave a few minutes later? I get the impression that they’re just a MacGuffin and it’s their handiwork that drives the plot but the sudden shift in genre sure was jarring.
I don’t want to sound too negative about the show though. I still liked how Inuyashiki’s robotic form is treated as both horrifying and cool and it was really satisfying seeing his self-defense system scare off those teenage bullies to save a poor homeless guy. One thing I can’t deny (at least not yet) is that the acting seems to be pretty good. I particularly like the soft tone Fumiyo Kohinata uses to play Inuyashiki (fun fact: Kohinata is a J-Drama actor new to voice acting). The show also looks pretty good. Yes, a good chunk of it is CGI but there’s been worse in anime and I found that it’s largely saved for more intensive moments. As jarring as the whole robot conversion thing was, there was still some enjoyment to be had with this first episode of Inuyashiki. This also seems like the kind of show that needs more time to get off the ground so hopefully in a week or two, it’ll start to get the ball rolling.