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‘Inuyashiki’ Review: Pretty Grim ‘n’ Pretty Good

The trope of a superhero-esque figure deviating from the cliché of ‘totally ripe for the job, à la Superman is far from fresh. Conveying a unique superhero narrative today bears similar challenge to composing a never before used chord progression (i.e. it’s nigh impossible due to countless creatives already having tackled the task, leaving no options left for those late to the party). Despite this however, Inuyashiki has a damn good crack at ‘originality’, creating a narrative that’s bolstered by its sweet-natured (if underdeveloped) titular hero, as his superhuman capabilities are explored from a stylish yet believable perspective. With an antagonist that encapsulates the phrase ‘total and complete scumbag’, and a refreshingly harrowing interpretation of the superhero genre, Inuyashiki delivers an entertaining, albeit flawed, gratuitously gripping experience.

With his aging body and mundane schedule, Inuyashiki’s life is depressingly dire. After relocating to a new home, his self-absorbed family scoff at its mediocrity. Inuyashiki’s reality plummets further following a visit to the doctor, upon which he is diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. With little left to live for, void of a sense of purpose, Inuyashiki keels over in tears whilst walking his dog at a park. By sudden surprise however, an explosion of extra terrestrial origin decimates both Inuyashiki, and a teenage boy situated in close proximity called Hiro. The otherworldly lifeforms responsible for this catastrophic error hastily rebuild both men, retaining their human appearances and emotions, but replacing their blood, bones and body bits with cybernetic technology.

Following their revival, both Inuyashiki and Hiro unearth their possession of stupendous capabilities, from fantastical flight to wicked weapons. While Inuyashiki’s new found strength is utilized for exacting justice and protecting the innocent, the vile craving for criminality Hiro bears sees him indulge in hideous murders to juxtapose Inuyashiki’s righting of wrongs. Thus begins the age old tale of good verses evil.

Inuyashiki wastes little time in allowing the audience to sympathize with its titular hero. Watching him plummet into his world of hurt elicits a sensation of emotional connection with the audience, in part due to the main man in question overflowing with wholehearted love for those around him. From his kindhearted demeanor toward his dog, to his sincere care for his family (which is sadly rejected), jumping on board with Inuyashiki’s outlook of those around him is a breeze. By stark contrast, Hiro is totally hate-able, committing murderous atrocities for nothing more than selfish entertainment. Watching as the black-hearted killer sadistically guns down a family in their own home is horrendously discomforting, yet fundamental to incentivizing the audience in utterly despising his character. This divide between Inuyashiki and Hiro creates a fascinating narrative in which two polar opposite forces enact their individual brands of ‘heroism’, from Inuyashiki’s defense of the weak to Hiro’s merciless blood lust (which he justifies to himself via a psychopathic and twisted logic).

Unfortunately, beyond its captivating leads and solid concept, issues blatantly blight Inuyashiki. Specific episodes are devoted wholly to exploring the personalities and powers of Inuyashiki and Hiro. Due to their bland execution however, these feel akin to padding, which is inexcusable for an eleven episode series. Effective exposition is vital to a strong narrative, but when the information gifted to the audience is dull, and the method of exposition impedes the pacing of the series, there’s certainly room for improvement. With no exploration of Inuyashiki’s pre-series backstory, or elaboration on the nuances of his familial relationships (both of which would’ve served as meaningful development to a likable character), one wouldn’t be remiss to declare that Inuyashiki misses the mark on effective character and world-building at times. Instances of irritatingly out of place 3D animation serve to further sink Inuyashiki’s quality, preventing its ascension to greater heights of quality.

As Hiro’s vicious spree of killing ramps up, Inuyashiki effectively utilizes its bleak tonal properties to convey the repulsive cruelty of his actions. Shocks and shakes whisk audiences through Hiro’s white knuckle roller coaster of brutality, all while providing an antidote to this horror in the form of its unlikely hero. As entertaining as Inuyashiki may be, however, a befuddled sense of storytelling bogs down an otherwise superb series. Sans focus in its expansion upon characters, and a wobbly clutch on pacing; Inuyashiki is ferocious fun regardless, but not quite as super as its man of the hour.

Watch Inuyashiki on Amazon HERE.

Written By

I invest my time in playing all manner of video games, and as of 2017, writing about all manner of video games.

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