Content Warning: Gore and Violence against Children.
What’s it about? In a small rural village, livestock are dying unnatural deaths. Inugami Kohachi’s Strangeness Counseling Office has been called to deal with this anomaly; but while he’s investigating the case he meets a quiet boy named Dorotabo who knows a suspicious amount about the weird occurrences in the village.
Inugami Koachi is immediately a stand-out character and he is voiced by the incomparable Suwabe Junichi. While I was worried his amazing voice would be a distraction, thankfully the story is strong enough to hold its own. Honestly, I love stories about humans and demons co-existing. Koachi is a laid-back dude who knows exactly what’s happening in the village, but rather than deal with it directly, he wants to see how the events in front of him play out.
Since Kaochi is willing to be a supporting character, it leaves room for Dorotabo to shine. Dorotabo is the village outcast and he is constantly bullied by both his peers and his family. I know childhood bullying can be awful, but the sheer amount of vile hate thrown at Dorotabo by his own cousin named Yataro isn’t normal and it’s alarming how far he was willing to hurt Dorotabo for his selfish reasons. Sadly, that hate isn’t isolated to Yataro alone, and Dorotabo’s own aunt excludes him from being near her family. I mean there is no sense in denying that everyone in Dorotabo’s life is an awful person, and I’m surprised he’s able to keep any kind of composure when he’s surrounded by total assholes.
Despite Dorotabo’s dire circumstances, he isn’t a bad child and he has surprisingly amoral views about life and killing. Even though his views are um… messy, he is receptive of Koachi’s kindness and values the knowledge he shares about his heritage. Koachi’s exposition about why demons and humans can’t know or coexist with each other can be tired, but if great shows like The Eccentric Family has proven anything, it’s that this concept can also be retold numerous times if done in new and exciting ways. Kemon Jihen also isn’t afraid to be gory and violent, and thanks to Koachi’s explanation it makes sense why he and Dorotabo have such a skewed sense of morality.
Ultimately the resolution to the village’s problems doesn’t even matter because Dorotabo now has goals he wants to achieve, like finding out who his parents are and why they left a lifestone with him. The answer initially seems obvious, but it’s clear there is more to it and I feel Koachi is withholding a lot of information.
Having said all of that I can understand why viewers might be put off by Dorotabo because he’s so emotionless (we already know why) and much like Bam from Tower of God, I do wonder if the show will rely on the supporting characters to liven things up. Fortunately for me, I like characters like this mostly because it’s just nice to watch their character development.
In short, this is totally my thing and I will definitely be checking a couple more episodes.