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Score: 6.11/10

Bem

JP Title : BEM

Year : 2019

Genre : Action, Demons, Supernatural

Season : Summer 2019

Status : Complete

Rating : PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

Episodes : 12/12

Duration : 24 min. per ep.

Studios : Production I.G, LandQ studios

Synopsis

Young detective Sonia Summers has been transferred to the outskirts of the port city Libra after stirring up trouble with her superiors. Libra is separated into two sectors—"the Upper", the center of wealth and politics, and "the Outside". The Outside is home to crime, corruption, and curious incidents involving monstrosities or youkai. Each case that Sonia works on seems to implicate the involvement of these mysterious creatures. Sonia crosses paths with three peculiar humanoid youkai — Bem, Bela and Belo — who seek to protect humans and fight against the evil youkai that terrorize them. Living as "Youkai-Ningen," they are excluded by other youkai for their human-like lifestyles, and rejected and hurt by humans when they reveal their true forms. Despite the hardships they face, these three Youkai-Ningen secretly live among humans, continuing to pursue their dreams of one day becoming human as well. [Written by MAL Rewrite]

In 1968, a series known in English as Human Monster BEM, about three yokai who seek to become human through their actions, debuted on TV. The series was remade under the same name in 2006 and rebroadcast in 2018, along with two sets of gag shorts, and the franchise also saw live-action TV and movie adaptations in 2011 and 2012. Now the franchise is getting a dramatic stylistic reinterpretation to update its look and feel for the late 2010s and, I suspect, nudge it towards more mature audiences. Based on the first episode, I am convinced that the franchise is going to be successful in this endeavor.

Earlier installments in the franchise look like they were more basic “good-guy monsters fight bad-guy monsters” stories. While that approach does not look like it has entirely changed, it is definitely being expanded upon and becoming more nuanced. This new version focuses on the original trio of BEM, Bela, and Belo in the context of BEM’s encounters with Sonia Summers, a “girl scout” of a police detective whom I believe is an entirely new character for the franchise. Despite her horrified reaction to BEM’s true form and her attempting to shoot him several times in fear, she’s much too conspicuously-placed to not wind up eventually being the trio’s contact within humanity. She also provides the vehicle to explore themes of corruption and socioeconomic disparity which can foster a setting where people get turned into literal (instead of just figurative) monsters by a mysterious figure called the Professor. Sonia’s idealism about justice is already being sorely tested by things like the bribery which underlays the structure of order in Outside, and now she has to deal with the supernatural as well.

The most notable technical change for this version is that the design of Bela, the one female of the three yokai, has been radically revised. In earlier versions she looked like a fully adult vampiress, but here she has red hair and looks more like a teenager. Belo is still a boy but now has white-and-black instead of bluish hair. The overall visual style is now something more akin to Baccano!, with more muted colors and a much grittier look, and the musical score now leans heavily on jazzy themes. The energetically jazzy opener is a memorable number, and the closer also has its merits. This could be a series whose soundtrack is worth owning.

If you’re in the mood for a gritty, modern-looking monster story which skews more towards adults, definitely check this one out. If you didn’t know that it was linked to earlier incarnations then you could never tell that it was a remake. You can also free Bem anime watch online and free anime download.

Well... it could've been worse. Unlike Arifuerta, where it was a beautiful mess, this was just a boring mess. I mean, it could've had some promise in it's early stages, but whatever we got, we got the worst version of it. It could've been a potential gem, but thanks to the underdeveloped writing, terrible characters and the awful world building. First off, Bem is a terrible main character. After the pilot, he just becomes a nothing character even though the show is NAMED after him, but whatever. Belo is an annoying little shit that just comes off as obnoxious and Bela is the only character that comes off as a little less bland then the others but that's only because she comes off as somewhat likable. All the other characters are as thick as glass. Alice, as a character isn't a bad idea. Instead of only focusing on the monsters wanting to become demons, we also focus on a human that is investigating the demons. However, the biggest flaw in the show is that since the audience knows the demons and we mostly focus on them, when something happens with the demons we see it and then when the detectives investigate, they just regurgitate information that we already know. The detectives just become more and more pointless as the show goes and you question the point of them many, many times. Also, the tonal whiplashes. These happen in virtually every episode (minus the pilot, which is the best episode I believe) where the tone could switch to two characters talking about their past lives and how they could be talking about something from a past life and then suddenly one of the characters gets hit by a giant bowling ball. The giant bowling ball is being thrown by a humanoid monster then looks like Elvis Presley. Yeah, it's that trite and stupid. It also doesn't help that the majority of the show, the tone just doesn't fit the villains. The tone feels dark and dreary, but then you'll have a psychopathic germaphobe that killed his abusive stepdad and Electro from Amazing Spider Man 2 except his electricity is yellow. You would think this would make the show interesting, but it somehow makes all of this feels stupid and boring. There's also characters like Gus and some other kid but their both terrible. All the other characters are either to bland or too obnoxious to care about. The animation is basic and like Cop Craft, the show did not have a lot of animators to this project and you can see all the shortcuts they make throughout the series. The character designs look good but nothing spectacular. The music is the only part I would say is pretty decent. The OP is solid for a good bit and some of the other pieces are pretty solid and work within the show. But that's not enough to save this show. Overall, Bem had potential but it was squashed. It wants to be everything: Different ideologies of wanting to be a monster or human, big monster fights, political intrigue, a police drama and so much more and it just never makes it come across as interesting and even when it puts up a decent idea or concept, it's used in the most boring way possible. This was truly a disappointment to finish off the summer season.

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