“Don’t judge a book by its cover”: a phrase that I’m sure many of us are familiar with, being one that has long transcended both generational and ethnic background to be used across the globe. A phrase that has taken on several reiterations, but still maintains the same direct message. It’s simple, to the point, and always relevant when entering the world of any storytelling medium. As much as many of us would like to think that we could quickly discern the contents of a show solely off of the art cover and synopsis, there are times when we are all proven wrong.
“Ajin” is the “Batman: Arkham Knight” (PC) of anime.
This show is broken. The show visually assaults your eyes. Visuals are important in visual entertainment. Dismissing visuals in visual entertainment is like dismissing food at a restaurant. You may be influenced to go somewhere because the service rocks, but you won’t go if the food is horrible. The visuals are incompetent at best. I’m going to put this in terms that many people on this site will understand. Some gaming companies restrict games to 30 frames per second (FPS) because they want their game to be more “cinematic”. People complain that games below 30 FPS is not suitable for many games. Frame rates under 30 FPS is regarded as a sign of lacking quality. “Ajin” took this concept of low frames as being cinematic and ran with it. They tried to be super cinematic with frame rates dipping below 10 FPS. In scientific terms, this does not even pass the critical flicker fusion frequency. Human eyes/brains register 24 FPS as a fluid motion. Movies are usually shot in 24 FPS and repeat frames to synthesize a 30 FPS motion. Please have the courtesy of doing a little research and finding out what the bare minimum is for entertainment targeted for humans. This is the first time I have ever had a headache after watching something. The manga has more frames per second than this horrible adaptation.
The show is so horribly animated that the studio acknowledges their professional impotence. I’m not talking about how the 5th episode is deservedly named “Trash”. Although in that episode Satou regenerated an arm, pulled his arm out from under him, and shot a dude in a literal 1 frame. In chapter 19 of the manga, Satou was supposed to fly a plane into the building. They knew they couldn’t animate an airplane smoothly so they gave us a different alternative. We got an explosion and Satou riding the building down. The concept of him riding the building down was legit, but it is wrong. People will argue that the animators were being sympathetic towards Americans by not showing the plane like how Pokémon did, but there is another scene where the animators pushed the action out of the scene. Earlier in the series, a train hit a car and pushed the car out of the frame so they could blow the car up without having to animate it. There was a helicopter that blew up off screen because effort is too much to ask for. If the animators cared about their “art” they would not allow the “please buy our DVD/Blu-ray” halfway through every episode. This ad goes on for a full minute and takes up nearly half the screen. There are reasons that this advertisement doesn’t show up in other shows. Any self-respecting animator would be outraged by the blanketing of their animation. People try to defend CG when it is poorly executed in shows they like, but that is being a zealot. Quality doesn’t have sacrificed because the animation style is being experimented with. Over 2 decades ago Aardman Animation, the studio that brought us the British anime “Wallace and Gromit”, has made clay move far smoother than CG because Aardman Animation actually cares about their work and puts time into their art.
The show does deserve some credit. The orchestrated pieces are put perfectly in place. I like Japanese Justin Timberlake in the intro song. The creators of this show are probably good with the ladies, because the mood is set for every scene. Satou is a great bad guy. He wants the world to burn and he has a great personality. You understand his rage and malcontent with how humans have treated him and he wants back at them. The show is best when Satou is around. The story is awesome. Everyone who has seen the anime or read the manga will agree that the story is cool. Corrupt government, explosions, stands (black ghosts), and Satou are all great things to have in a storyline. Great job on the story for knowing who is interesting and when they are interesting. Most people watch stuff for the main character, but Kei takes a backseat in the story so the show can focus on the larger issues.
In the end, the show is a failure. Polygon Pictures horribly executed an adaptation. It is ambitious to animate humans with CG and the studio is not technically adept enough to execute smooth motion with it. Polygon Pictures joins the ranks of the garbage studios. Studio Deen, Idea Factory, and even KOO-KI could make this show better than Polygon Pictures. It makes me sad that the promotional videos for the new “Berserk” anime will also look like an unfinished project. Guts, if he were real, would bitch slap all those animators in the face with “Dragonslayer” for disgracing the well-deserved number 1 rated manga on this site. Real fans hold standards to their favorite series. If the anime does the manga justice, you should love and cherish it. When they fail at it, the fans should voice their disappointed opinions. Fans do not change their profile picture to a character from the show while rating and reviewing the show at a 10 when they have only seen 4 episodes of the series.