Saturday, October 3, 2015

First Impressions: Kagewani

Episode 1: Doba

Takeru, Shougo and Satoshi are a trio of young men who go into a restricted forest in order to film what they call a UMA (Unidentified Mysterious Animal) and put it up on the internet. In order to up their viewers, Takeru decided to fake a video of a dinosaur in a lake, a la "Loch Ness Monster." Their floating dinosaur, however, fails, leading Takeru to order Satoshi to retrieve the device from the lake. They discover that the device's propeler was destroyed so Takeru tells Satoshi to get an extra propeller from their gear. Walking through the forest, Satoshi happens upon a gigantic footstep of a four-toed animal although he doesn't realize it. Meanwhile, Takeru and Shougo decide to go after Satoshi who is taking too long in retrieving the propeller and might have gotten lost in the forest. There, they discover the device abandoned on the forest floor and they chance upon a gigantic monster. Takeru attempts to film it but is interrupted when the creature attacks Shougo. Frightened, Takeru runs through the forest but slips and falls, discovering Satoshi's corpse in the process. He manages to get to the lake and believes he is safe. However, a look in the clear water reveals that the creature followed him and is standing right behind him.

The art style is the first thing you'll notice. It's definitely not standard anime fare -- it's almost like the characters are cut-out figures being moved around a still background. But the character and monster designs are good. The monster honestly scared me and there were moments where I covered my eyes from the suspense. 
The series features short episodes. The first episode clocks in at barely eight minutes, so it doesn't demand a lot of your time. It makes the series a nice short break from other lengthier, more intense series you're following this season. 
For the first story -- that is, the first monster -- it borrows heavily from the Loch Ness Monster myth. It neither expands nor scrimps on it. But the detail about these boys resorting to antics and getting themselves in dangerous situations just to up their online viewers is pretty realistic and in line with the times. 
The ending is intriguing and will provide the hook for many. Banba Sousuke is definitely an interesting character.