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.
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