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.