Recently I made a review on Inuyashiki produced by MAPPA studios with only me watching 9 of the 11 episodes in the series. I gave it a 4 out of 5 star rating stating how I respected the story but wasn’t my favorite. So I just finished it…all I can say is MAPPA definitely has a way of ripping your heart out in the final five minutes of the series!!
Like, what the hell!!
So let me tell you a bit about Inuyashiki. This story follows a man named Ichirou Inuyashiki, a 58 year old man who has not been having a good family life. And after an examination, he was diagnosed with a terminal cancer giving him 3 months to live. Did his family care? Nope. They just ignore him per usual which causes him to have an emotional breakdown and run into the woods. After he runs into the woods to have his breakdown, a light flashes and inter-dimensional aliens crash their UFO into Ichirou. To avoid suspicion, the aliens rebuilt his body back together however in the only they knew how which was into a mechanized weapon with the power to take out an army and heal cancer wearing the same skin as Inuyashiki before the accident. His memories and emotions were still all there though. This was a bit weird for him but it ended being his saving grace. That same night he inadvertently saved someone’s life thanks to his mechanized powers. From there on out he starts to use his powers to save many more lives. Just like Ichirou, we find out that another person was involved in the UFO accident as well. High school student Hiro Shishigami, however, he is using his new powers for the complete opposite reasons of Ichirou, and that is to bring his darkest impulses to life.
Okay that was just a minor spoiler but I am about to go into a few major spoilers up next. Fair warning!
The lesson to be learned from this show is power can change you either for the good or better. This show takes a few episodes to build its characters and introduce the heavy violence it has (keep in mind this is from the creators of Gantz). But every bit of violence and character development is with a purpose! It’s not just murdering a whole family in cold blood for no reason. It actually goes into the psychological depth of Hiro. This series does an exceptional job at “not pointing fingers”. There’s a reason why Inuyashiki feels more human when he is saving people and why Hiro feels more human when he is killing them. Inuyashiki’s reasoning is that he has he has always been a kind and considerate person. He was in the military and served to protect his country. Hiro’s reasoning goes into more depths than that. He has always has a lack of empathy for anyone besides him and those immediately close to him. Everyone else, he quoted, can die for all he cares.
So, everyone else does die! Fast forwarding into the descent of Hiro’s madness. Hiro began killing people using his God like powers because he didn’t care for anyone besides his mother and close friend, Chokko, who he would go home to every day and read manga with. He claims he feels alive and complete which is why he kills. He gets away with a lot of them because all he has to do is fly away using his jetpack built into him. I’m telling you! This is not like any anime you have seen!
People do start to catch on that he is the murderer to dozens and dozen of innocent lives. At first people revere him and make him this God. Simply because he looks hot and not many people can believe a high school boy is murdering all these people. Until the murders get out of hand one day and, not to give to too much away, things “fly” out of control. So the police force and the government comes after him backing his loved ones such as his mother into a corner. Ultimately, one of his loved ones commits suicide because of the pressure from the media. What happens next? Hiro snaps descending further into darkness wanting to kill all of the internet trolls for pushing his mother to the end. He meets Ichiro, the girl who surprisingly stole his heart, and tried to change his ways for her. However the police force murdered the girl and her family for harboring this criminal. Fall more into madness, killing hundreds of people a day (thanks to his God-like powers) as a result of all this. At this point, it seemed like no matter what Hiro does he is seen as the villain when he thinks he doesn’t deserve to be. He finally comes to realization that he is the villain in this whole game and questions, “Why am I the villain?” He doesn’t understand why all of this is happening to him. And it’s kind of sad to see that he knows no other way to be happy but by killing innocent people, and it causes him so much frustration. He doesn’t get why people hate him for what he believes he cannot control. As I said, God complex.
However, the realization that he is the “bad guy” in all of this creates a wonderful story arc that gives us the reason to believe he is the anti-hiro…I meant anti-hero. It’s rare to see a character that rationalizes all the evil they have caused as the right and moral thing to do.
And in the end (which I think what broke my heart the most), after Hiro who was defeated in battle by Inuyashiki, he visited his childhood friend, Chokko, even though Chokko exclaimed he never wanted to see his face again because he killed so many people. You could tell he Hiro was lost. You could tell he was broken and empty and did not know what to do next. So Chokko said, “Hey I got this week’s Jump. Did you want to read it?” Hiro responded yes with so much excitement. The two were reading manga like the good ol days. However, something was different. Chokko was shaking the whole time. He was terrified of his childhood friend, and eventually he confessed, “I’m scared. You’re not Hiro. You’re just a fake machine that goes around killing people.” OUCH! I even felt that! Now, just think how Hiro felt? After, he lost his family, his lover, the whole country sees him as a villain, and he is so confused, he goes to the one person he thought would want to talk to him… the person he has known for over a decade… and he is told by that person “I am afraid of you. You are just a killing machine.”
In that moment, all he could do is just cry and run away. The expression on his face was so poignant. He realized he had pushed away everyone he loved with the intentions of doing opposite of that.
This whole thing started because Chokko was being bullied and beaten at school so he killed the bullies to protect his friend. But that scared Chokko away. He killed all these people and stole all this money to treat his mother but it blew up in his face and caused his mother to die. He knew the whole world was after him so he started murdering everyone in the world so he could live safely on the planet with Ichiro. He actually had good intentions but they were so misplaced!
Why am I talking about Hiro so much when there is Inuyashiki? Because everything focuses on him! He has the juiciest character with so much going on in his head it is fascinating. The series is named after Inuyashiki, and you do see Inuyashiki save countless lives in every episode, curing cancers, and trying to stop Hiro. But Hiro is the reason why the show is so amazing. Seeing this character who walked into homes of families and murder them with no qualms whatsoever finally getting what he deserves starts crying. And going on about how he doesn’t understand why he is seen as the bad guy. It makes you feel sad for him that he doesn’t get where he went wrong. That is ultimate ending was the exact opposite of what he wanted to happen. It’s like the old saying goes, no matter what action you take there will always be a consequence.
But the best part about everything was the asteroid! This large asteroid that was going to impact Earth was flooding the news at the same time Hiro’s murders were making headlines, however, Hiro’s actions were definitely taking the attention away from the gigantic asteroid. Make it to the final episode, Hiro has been defeated by Inuyashiki, and Inuyashiki becomes closer with his family more than ever until news about the asteroid resurfaced. This time, it was heading to Earth and stated to be large enough to end all of humanity. Inuyashiki sees it as his duty to destroy the asteroid and save the planet. His family and friends are telling him to not go. No one believes he has the power to stop it and they do not want to lose him. Even the dog is racing down the stairs running after him. But he goes anyway, makes it to the asteroid and quickly realizes that he cannot destroy the asteroid.
**Major spoiler coming up. Skip to final paragraph if you haven’t seen it yet!**
Ironically, guess who shows up? Hiro, claiming he can take the asteroid of its course if he self detonates…I knew from the very beginning this was going to happen. I smelled it! However, I thought he was doing this to right all of his wrongs. No! Still unemphatic as ever, he tells Inuyashiki, “There are people on this Earth I don’t want to be killed. Chokko and Ichiro” So with hopes of saving them he self detonates. BUT as much of a bold sacrifice that was. It wasn’t enough so Inuyashiki realized he had to self detonate as well. The beautiful ending song accompanied by piano played in the background. He phoned all of his family and friends and said don’t worry it’s going to be alright. Not telling them he was going to die in the process. And within a few seconds, the asteroid was gone but so Inuyashiki.
Everyone cried. His daughter, his wife, his son, his dog, and Chokko. They realized even though they were saved that they lost someone close to them. Escpecially Chokko, even though he was scared of Hiro. That was his childhood friend who he pushed away. Not even saying goodbye to him. More than likely, that was his one regret. Pushing away Hiro, instead of embracing him.
This series will make you cry. It will make you question right and wrong. It teaches about just accepting who you are, whether weak or small, and treasuring those around you. As stellar as the action and animation is, what truly makes this series is the emotional sequence MAPPA puts you on. You get close to these characters in just eleven episodes because you see the depth of why they do what they do. It gives you big explosions, bloody violence, some heartwarming friendships all concluding to this beautiful, memorable, and VERY SUDDEN conclusion that hits you with a low vibration heartbreak.
I definitely give this series a: