What if you couldn’t die? That’s what it means to be an Ajin. Ajin are beings who cannot die, but are feared and cast aside by society. Kei Nagai wanted to study in order to become a doctor, but one day when he is hit by a bus, he survives and is unveiled to be an Ajin. Now he’s on the run in order to avoid capture.
First Episode Impressions
First off, it was a bit difficult to find this online as very few fansubbers picked this series up at first. Partially because Crunchyroll was not streaming this show due to it being a Netflix exclusive. Ajin is one of the first shows to be a part of the Netflix Original Series under their new endeavor of adding more anime to their network. I think it’s cool that Netflix is trying to broaden its scope in what they offer for content and from what I’ve seen so far from the first episode, they picked a good series to get them started.
From top to bottom, this episode had me hooked. We started off with a military scene in Africa where child soldiers were trying to take down a human that they felt could not die. It wasn’t until later in the episode that we learned that this was the first reported case of an Ajin.
Outside of the brief history lesson, the episode focused on Kei Nagai and his wish to be a good person. It was taught to him that in order to become a good person you must throw away unnecessary things. One of those “things” happened to be his childhood friend Kaito (Kai for short as referenced throughout the episode.) The episode does a nice job of building the mysterious past between Kei and Kai without revealing much, if anything, at all. This gets you hooked and makes you question just what happened in the past between these two that caused Kei’s mother to instruct him to keep his distance from Kai.
Kei’s younger sister Eriko also has a bit of mystery behind her. After a flashback of the two of them having to bury their pet dog who was sick, Eriko is seen to be hospitalized. Kei pays her a visit, but Eriko is rather resentful towards Kei and doesn’t want to see him.
Then there was the accident with Kei and the bus. He wanders into the street, lost in thought, and gets smacked by a bus and “killed.” Kei comes back to life and can’t believe what happened himself. Realizing what he is, he notices that his friends from class witnessed everything. Fearing that he would be turned in, he panics and runs for it. He turns to Kai as the one person who could help him and immediately Kai goes to Kei’s rescue as if he expected this all along, adding more mystery behind his character and their past. This is where the first episode ends.
A lot of questions are set up here and for a series with only 13 episodes, it doesn’t seem too rushed. Everything had a great pace to it and established the world in which Ajin is set in. You get a feel for the characters and it makes you want to know more about their pasts. The only thing that really throws me off about this series is the animation. This series is done fully in CG and while this makes the animation very fluid, it doesn’t seem consistent. There are times where everything looks natural and then there are others where the animation looks off, or some frames are skipped. It’s a bit distracting, to be honest, but it doesn’t really hurt the overall quality of the show.
I look forward to watching more of this series, but with Netflix airing it, I can assume that subtitled releases could be staggered. Nevertheless, Polygon Pictures have set up a show which could be a contender of anime of the season. Let’s just hope the quality doesn’t drop as the series continues on.
OP & ED Impressions
While the winter season has some pretty good openings, this one has me won over as best opening song this season. “Yoru wa Nemureru Kai?” by flumpool has a dark, yet somber, rock vibe to it that kicks into a melodic chorus that is just a pleasure to listen to. The full version of this song is already out which is, typically, a red flag when it comes to opening theme songs. Typically the run-of-the-mill openings get released first, but this song breaks that mold. The full version is simply amazing and I’ve had it on repeat for the past couple of days and it’s highly worth checking out.
The ending is also pretty amazing as well. “HOW CLOSE YOU ARE” by Mamoru Miyano is a soft and somber acoustic song that really accentuates the mood of the series and just moves you emotionally. I may also be partial to this song because Mamoru Miyano is the voice of Okarin from Steins;Gate, my favorite anime of all time! He also is the voice of Takuto from Star Driver, Masaomi Kida from Durarara!!, Ling from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and, of course, he voices Kei Nagai in this series! All around an amazing voice actor and singer and this ending theme is just a testament to his ability!
YES – If you can get your hands on the subtitled version then this is, so far, a must watch! It has enough suspense, mystery, and drama to keep you entertained!