Brand New Animal Ep. 1: Beastman-on-beastman crime

Can’t we all just get along?

— First Beaststars and now this? Are we about to get a surge in animal-related anime?

— Oh, how could I forget? There was also Killing Bites!

— You can choose from a bunch of various English subs for this anime, but Asenshi seems to be the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, they’ve only put out a single episode at the moment. But that works for me. I like to cover anime episode-by-episode, and their release schedule will play right into that.

— I usually don’t cover anime that Netflix has the rights to in the west. I tend to stick to shows that I can get from Crunchyroll, Funimation, or Amazon. Usually. I’ve made exceptions for shows like High Score Girl, and I guess I’m making another exception now. But in the past, I’ve had to give up on shows that might have interested me like, say, Carole & Tuesday. Oh sure, I have a Netflix account, and I usually watch these shows soon after they are released. I just don’t write about them.

— Why make an exception for BNA? I guess I just have a soft spot for Trigger. I don’t love all of their shows once it is all said and done, but I like their animation style. It’s like how you can tell a show is from KyoAni without being told ahead of time.

— Catchy OP.

— So far, the story here isn’t anything groundbreaking. Whenever something like BNA comes about, you can expect to see themes of discrimination and bigotry. So of course, some humans hate on the beastmen, and in return, some beastmen will hate them back. You can only take so much mistreatment before it ends up poisoning your heart.

— And boy, the racism is strong in this human society. Thirty thousand people calling for the death of beastmen? And these are just the assholes willing to stand outside in the sun. There must be many more hiding inside their homes. So naturally, I want to know why these humans hate beastmen so much. Of course, the reason will be illogical. That’s just how racism works. But there is still always a reason, and that reason needs to be dissected.

Our heroine Michiru hopes to escape to Anima City, a special ward for beastmen. Separate but equal, huh? I mean, I get it, but at the same time, I don’t. If we don’t live together — if we don’t integrate our lives with each other — then I doubt true understanding can ever be achieved. But from an individual point of view, why should I — if I was a persecuted beastman — put my life on the line in the hopes that bigots will one day come to accept me? So while I understand why safe spaces are needed, I just don’t think they’re an ideal solution. They don’t actually bring us any closer to achieving true social justice.

— Along the way, beastmen-haters attack Michiru’s bus, so it seems as though lawlessness is quite rampant in this world. On the one hand, the government will create a special ward, but on the other hand, they won’t do anything to stop all this violence and anti-beastmen rhetoric. Basically, the government is racist on the down low.

— Michiru is eventually saved by Mary, but what’s interesting is that the woman is originally in her human form until she needed to get serious. Only then does she turn into a mink (I thought otter at first). We’ve only ever seen our heroine in her beastman form.

— And of course, just because you are among your own kind, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be safe either. Mary might have saved Michiru’s life, but she also demands all of the latter’s money. How exactly is a young girl supposed to survive in a brand new city on her own?

— When Michiru finally gets to Anima City, she somehow wanders right into the middle of a festival to celebrate the ward’s 10th anniversary. What a coincidence. But is she actually embracing her new home? Or is she just caught up in the excitement and fervor that comes with such a raucous celebration? I only ask because when she was talking to Mary earlier, she referred to the mink as “your kind.”

— Also, I think I read somewhere that Michiru was originally a human girl before turning into a beastman. It should be part of the anime’s central premise. And this just makes sense if you think about it. Like I said up top, living separately isn’t going to achieve any sort of understanding between the two sides. We literally have to turn a girl into a beastman so that she can live as the enemy. As they say, walk a mile in my shoes and then tell me what you think.

— The prime minister calls to congratulate Anima City’s mayor on reaching such a momentous milestone, but he’s not exactly rosy in his delivery. He strikes me as one of those moderates — the ones that Martin Luther King Jr had railed against. The prime minister might tolerate the existence of the Other, but at the same time, he’ll use peace and order as cudgels against them. “Oh, I know you want fair and equal treatment, but I just don’t think making a scene is the right course of action.” Y’know, those people. I’m just sayin’… if you try to fight for social justice without inconveniencing someone, you’re probably not going to get anything done. People won’t pay attention to your causes unless they have to. Otherwise, it’s too easy for them to ignore social causes. This happens all the time in the postmodern world where the media plays a disproportionate role in shaping the discourse.

— During the festival, Michiru gets her wallet stolen by a monkey, so she gives chase. This leads her right to a shady handyman fiddling around in the shadows. Before anyone can connect the dots, a huge explosion threatens to take the lives of people celebrating in the streets.

— That’s when Shirou, the other protagonist, finally gets his time in the spotlight. It’s always a wolf, isn’t it? Nobody ever wants to be, say, a platypus. Tsk.

— Using his keen sense of smell, he chases down the perpetrator and their accomplices. These beastmen have sold out their own kind for money, but what exactly do they hope to do with said money? If anti-beastmen humans are successful in destroying Anima City, where exactly will these sellouts be able to use their ill-gotten wealth? Well, the anime doesn’t really have an answer for us. Maybe later, but also maybe never. Maybe these sellouts are just dumb.

— What follows is Shirou kicking everyone’s ass. For a wolf, he seems to have super… well, superhuman wouldn’t make sense. He has superwolf powers? After all, I don’t expect a wolf to beat a lion in the real world.

— At one point, wolfy even tears off the deer’s antlers. I don’t know how you can do it without tearing some skin, but he manages to snap those antlers off as if they are just twigs.

— Shirou intends to kill the three terrorists, but that’s when Michiru intervenes. She thinks that the bad guys have had enough. Maybe she doesn’t believe in taking a life, but I dunno… terrorists are a special kind of scum, aren’t they? Do they really deserve to live? Well, I shouldn’t say that. I’m against capital punishment, after all. I guess I just have to side with the girl for now.

— When Shirou wouldn’t listen, Michiru’s tail suddenly glows and grows. It’s enough to knock our wolf with superwolf strengths back, so I guess she’s pretty powerful when she needs to be.

— The guy tries to argue that humans are their enemy, so she goes “not all humans” on him. After all, she insists that she’s still human, and she doesn’t hate them! I like Shirou’s deadpan response.

— We see flashbacks from when Michiru was still a normal human girl. And for now, she isn’t exactly here because she wants to live with the rest of the beastmen. She’s only here because she wants to turn back to normal. We might get a predictable character arc like how she will initially insist on being a human girl again, but by the end of the series, perhaps she’ll stay a beastman after all. And maybe she was turned into one because the bad guys want to take advantage of the beastmen’s strength and speed. As for Shirou, our heroine’s gonna have to do something about him hating all humans. These are just stabs in the dark. I don’t really have a clue as to what’s going to happen next. All that I hope is that the writers have some interesting surprises along the way.

— I’m also reminded of that “your kind” statement Michiru had said to the mink. Does she harbor some prejudiced views of beastmen? Or could she just tell that Mary was a grifter from the get-go?

— Like I said, there are six total episodes out right now, but I’m still going to wait for my preferred subbing group to get around to the other five. If Asenshi ever puts out two or more episodes at a time, then I’ll adjust accordingly.

— Do I like Brand New Animal? One episode is hardly anything to by, and Trigger’s history is full of promising but ultimately disappointing shows. But for now, this anime seems entertaining enough. At least it isn’t boring.

Please refrain from posting spoilers or using derogatory language. Basically, don't be an asshole.

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