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First Impressions: Kemono no Souja Erin (1-10)

Note: posts which contain episode numbers in the titles will likely discuss plot developments during those episodes – read reviews instead for spoiler-free articles.

I first sampled “Kemono no Souja Erin” some time back, when it had first begun to air.  As I was following another show at the time, I wasn’t able to give it more than a brief trial (one episode) and it drifted away from my mind.  However, it is one of those shows that I have gotten multiple recommendations for by people with roughly similar tastes, so I decided to revisit it, and what a good decision that was.  Although I can’t possibly give a reasonable opinion on a 50 episode series based on having seen roughly ten, I can at least say that there is indeed something worthwhile here, and a lot of potential for Erin to transform into a beautiful coming-of-age fantasy tale.

The first batch of episodes give the impression of a relatively idyllic slice-of-life show, but all of this is turned upside down by the climax of the seventh episode.  After this point, Erin no longer enjoys the safety and harmless joys of being a child -nor the protective aura of her mother – as she did earlier.  I’m not quite sure yet where the series wishes to go from this point – I assume, based on the 50 episode length, that Erin herself will grow up throughout the story.  I also assume that John, her current mentor, will remain with her for at least another batch of episodes, since it has been hinted that he has a deeper past which will no doubt be explored at some point.  I also assume that at some point, the limit to what he can teach her will be reached, and she will seek out the Mist People and become more acquainted with their society and abilities.

In some sense it is a very familiar pattern of storytelling that is being used here, where a child is cut off from their parents and forced to grow up prematurely, but it has been executed so well that I hope it will grow into something exceptional.  Long series like this aren’t very common anymore, outside of long-running shounen franchises, but their strength is the ability to slowly make you attached to the characters and world, and that’s already happening for me.  I hope the remainder of the show lives up to its promise so far.

3 responses so far

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3 Responses to “First Impressions: Kemono no Souja Erin (1-10)”

  1. Arabesqueon Jul 6th 2011

    ”I hope the remainder of the show lives up to its promise so far.”

    It certainly will 🙂

    The first 10 episodes has done a great job of setting up both the basic foundations of the world and most importantly, introduced us to what I consider among the most well developed characters in fiction. Erin in the first fifth of this tale starts off as a little curious girl filled with love for knowledge and nature. As you’ve seen, by episode 7 she ends up tragically starting her journey losing everything she had loved, in the most cruel way possible.

    I really liked the slow pace the series had taken with the first episodes prior, despite many being turned off since ”nothing was happening” but the set up made the pay off all the more worth while and powerful.

    I also like that despite many children anime nowadays being rather patronizing to the viewers, it’s much different here. Show rather than tell seems to be the rule here, with us getting to learn about fictional things such as how to care and nurture the Beasts and deduction 1-0-1 about the reasons for illness, to the more realistic study of Bee culture and treatments. Each, despite being on the ends of the realism spectrum, are both well grounded in explanation.

  2. Marinaon Jul 6th 2011

    I simply adore this show, and Erin has become one of my favorite heroines. It’s wonderful growing up with her in this show and meeting all the people she meets. I think the 50 episodes were used well and thought the pacing of the show nicely done. My only complaint about it was that I hate how the beginning of each episode features so much review of the previous episode. Since I pretty much marathon-ed it, I found the reviews necessary and redundant.

    I really just think the author has a wonderful way with story and characters, as Balsa from Seirei no Moribito is another protagonist who has made my top 5 character list.

  3. Theowneon Jul 7th 2011

    Thanks for your comments, guys. I guess this is one of those “small but dedicated fanbase” type of shows 🙂

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