Anime review: Inuyashiki (Last Hero)

By | November 13, 2018

While I know many of us struggle with tsundoku (積ん読)––buying mounds of books you never read––perhaps tondoku (止ん読)––starting a book or series and never finishing it––is an even graver crime. (Note: please see the last paragraph of this post regarding the word ‘tondoku‘)

Sometime back I had read the first few issues of manga Inuyashiki (いぬやしき) by Hiroya Oku (奥 浩哉), and was totally into it, but because I got to the point where the next issue had not come out yet, I decided to wait until the series was finished until continuing to read. But by the time the series was finished, I had completely forgotten about it.

Fortunately, Inuyashiki has been made into an 11-episode series that is available on Amazon Prime. So I decided to try it out and enjoy the rest of the story without having to buy a bunch of manga books.

Inuyashiki is a story about two people––an old man and a young man––who, via a mysterious event, are endowed with near-godlike abilities. However, the way they choose to use these abilities is completely different: one to save lives, and the other, well…

While there are a few supporting characters and plot twists, overall the story is pretty straightforward. What is great about this anime (as well as the original manga) is the way the main character’s actions and emotions are expressed in a no-holds-barred way. Often this translates to extreme violence (something shared with GANTZ, for which Hiroya Oku is famous for), and other adult themes, so this is definitely not for kids.

The many dramatic action scenes are rendered in excruciating detail in both the manga and in the anime, though perhaps even better in the manga. While some of the anime scenes are impressive, overall I felt the budget could have been higher, especially regarding some of the CG used to render the city.

This series also has philosophical undertones, as it is hinted that one of the main character’s actions are because of a certain mindset developer earlier in their life. Also, it is interesting to see how various supporting characters’ attitudes change once the two main characters develop their powers. I think it’s impressive how the author avoided an over-emphasis on the fictional/mysterious elements and instead used those as a vehicle to tell a great story.

For those learning Japanese, this is an excellent series because of the good amount of everyday conversation, and little in the way of dialects or domain-specific terminology.

While I only read the first half of the story in manga form, I was told that the anime is mostly true to the original plot. However, it seems there were some scenes added to the anime for dramatic effect. As always, I’d start with the manga to get the best effect.

While I did just call this a “great story”, in truth I did have some complaints about how things progressed, but because discussing them reveals key plot points, I’ll omit that here. I’ll just say that I heard the fans are looking forward to a sequel.

Language note: The word tondoku (止ん読) I used above is something I invented while writing this post. It is intended to mean ”(途中で)読書を止める” (stopping reading [partway through]). I don’t know of a specific word for this in English or Japanese, so I made it up. Feel free to use it if you like (:

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