I finally got a chance to watch the first episode of KEMONOZUME the other day (it airs Saturdays at 00:30 on WOWOW), and I’m not even sure where to start. OK, let’s start by saying that this is one of the most interesting new anime series I’ve seen in while, and it feels good to be excited by a new show again (the last time was probably with SAMURAI CHAMPLOO). It comes from MIND GAME director Masaaki Yuasa, and if you’ve seen that film, you’ll sort of know what to expect, but with a twist, and that’s the thing. What starts off as a weird conversation between two “players” turns into a monster fight with mech-equipped warriors, but all done in the wacky, indie-style animation that was used in MIND GAME. And then, we find out that we’ll be following the story of these monster fighters. But things quickly go into romantic/dramatic territory — with a comical twist that involves a monkey — before finally tying into the whole mythology of the show. From this first episode, I’m absolutely hooked, and cannot wait to see more. You can view a trailer for the show here.

This has also gotten me thinking that I wouldn’t mind writing a regular anime column again (I used to write one for TOKYO Q a while back, with archives still online — coincidentally, I just noticed that the final one was published exactly one year ago today). I have recently approached some publications about it, but unfortunately, no takers yet.