Years ago I got my first request to watch and review the anime series (filled with human-eating, giant clawed demons from Hell) known as Kemonozume. The person making the request told me "this is the greatest horror show ever made! It's filled with gore, action, and some heavy drama. Oh, and twists! TONS of cooly awesome twists! Yeah, the animation style is strange, but that just adds to its STYLE! It's brilliant from top to bottom!!! Watch it!"
Well, actually, the requestor really said something like "You r a fagg for not watching grate this show Kmonozume!1 It is teh awsome, and you arr so dumb, it is animeted like weird, but so dam good! Blod blood blood! oh and so mach great people and dearth! Gddammit you should watch! Don't b so ghey!!!"
So I never bothered.
Then, last week, I heard somebody whose opinion I actually value talk about Kemonozume, and he gave it a pretty damn good review. He said that yes, the animation style took something to get used to, but once one did the story was simply top notch, the violence was incredible, and the characters were so fully developed that they seem more real than most of the phonies you see walking around the streets today. I thought "Fine. I'll give it a shot. It's still a few weeks before this season's shows end and I have fresh stuff to watch anyway."
So, was it worth about six and a half hours of my valuable time? Did it truly blow my mind? Hold on. I'll get to that. but let's first start with the.....
Kemonozume's all about a bunch of bizarre demons whose human ancestors were fucked over by the petty gods of old because a long time ago one of the mortals stepped in and stopped a hot maiden from being tossed into a boiling volcano as a live sacrifice. So yeah, PUNISH THE LOT OF THEM TILL THE END OF TIME! These Shokujinki demons that these people became apparently did nothing but hide out in human-looking shells, eat the hell out of the unsuspecting population, and reproduce, multiplying their numbers as they fucked like rabid bunnies through the ages. In hindsight, probably not the punishment that the ancient gods may have expected it to be. Anyway, because of this shortsightedness, the Kifuuken Dojo sword school is set up to take these almost indestructible demons down before more innocents become their prey. As of the start of the show they're still at it, though the Kifuuken have just kicked it up a notch and started to get mechanized in their quest to eradicate the Flesh-Eater blight from the land.
At the beginning of the story the Kifuuken seem to have the Flesh-Eaters on the ropes. Their sword-handling is top notch, their drive is unswayable, and they have leaders who know how to direct the troops. Toshihiko Momota is the next heir to the Kifuuken throne, and he's an incredible warrior, a straight-up stand-up guy, and he's completely dedicated to the destruction of the enemy... Then a woman comes into the picture. Of fucking course.
In the middle of the first episode Toshihiko meets the woman in question (a sultry blonde who almost lands directly on him on the beach she was parachuting down to), and immediately falls madly in love with her and ends up banging the shit out of her by episode's end... It's then that we find out that she's really another Flesh-Eater hiding in human form!!! DUH-DUH-DUUUUUUUUUH!
Very soon the rest of the Kifuuken clan finds out about the blonde demon and confronts the thinking-with-his-lil-soldier Toshihiko, reminding him that he's already got a buxomly fiancee within the school (a cute chick named Rie). Then, when all else fails, the warriors try to kill the ogre-spawn before she can do onto them whatever grisly slashing and stabbing she plans to do. Well, it turns out that this woman, named Yuka, is actually trying to get away from her past, and seems to have forsaken the rest of her clawed, toothy, and flesh-hungry brethren, and although this is good enough for the horny as hell Toshihiko, the Kifuuken clan starts hunting the two of them down as soon as the rebellious couple flees from Toshihiko's own father's funeral (to which Yuka has been framed for having caused).
Doesn't that sound fairly cool? A modern day, Japaneezy, violent, sexy, and twisted retelling of Romeo and Juliet!... If only the final product were half as rugged as I made it sound. See, I left out telling you about all the terrible, terrible, lame humor that this show tries to pass off as comedy (like the monkey-sensei who loves peaches, and the FLCL-like vibe that this thing tries to bathe in throughout the entire the second half), and the godawful animation. Holy fuck, what an intentional fucking mess! The character designs and the way that this thing was animated are simply hideous; while other will claim "brilliant STYLE" and beautiful, I call it out as half-assed and atrocious. It looks like Mike Judge animated this whole thing himself back in his early Beavis and Butthead days... Or like it was drawn by the guy who did Dr. Katz (in "Squigglevision"!). Maybe in a comedy this would work, but Kemonozume was not a comedy, at least not in the way it tried to be. It was laughably horrendous though. So that's something. Really, if this story had been kept dramatic (and tense), and it had been animated a little smoother (okay, a whoooooole lot smoother), then it may have been something grand. But no. I guess animation directors who smoke hash and pay to have lightbulbs jammed up their tuccuses by uncaring yakuza whores know better than me.
So, the "humor" is not humorous, the "horror" is not scary, the romance between Yuka and Toshihiko is like that between a waterhead and a doorknob, and the plot is so ridiculous that even by its own universe's laws of actions and reactions it makes no sense (how the hell does that "Flesh-Eater toxin" pass the government inspection and testing before hitting the mass market?! And how is it not pulled immediately after its "demon side effects" are discovered?!), but does Kemonozume have anything good going for it? No. Not really.
Honestly, I can't think of one good reason to recommend this to anyone. If you like horror movies you'll laugh AT the monsters and gore in this thing, and if you like comedy you'll wonder when you're supposed to chuckle WITH the events on the screen. Strangely though, it wasn't really the worst thing I've ever seen; it never caused me any mental or physical pain and I was able to get through it, but it just wasn't very good. If you want unflinching horror, check out Shikabane Hime. If you want a horror and comedy hybrid, watch Bakemonogatari. If you want something to give the MST3K treatment to, well then, Kemonozume is the show for you.
Yeah, I fucking listened to the Rossman and did not waste my valuable time on this garbage.
(Note from the Rossman: Actually, I invited Carl over to watch it with me after promising him Kemonozume would be extremely violent, but once he saw how terrible the whole show looked HE got extremely violent and I had to unlock the manacles and let him go in order to avoid a pounding that would have assuredly made me look as messed up as all the horribly designed characters in the show itself. So there.)
Demonozumee... "Crap" by any other name would still smell as putrid.
Seriously, avoid at all cost, ladies. Nothing redeeming about this thing. It was very difficult to get through, though not because it was gross or disgusting — honestly, it really wasn't — but only because it was just bad. That giant man who was three stories tall was supposed to be taken seriously, along with that monkey with no ears and dots for eyes who kept teaching that one man with bad bowel control how to fight, well, they were just a few of the many totally stupid parts of this thing that made me cringe with embarrassment for the writers themselves. I still feel bad they had to have their names attached to this thing. This mistake will haunt them forever.