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Score: 6.52/10

Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e

Eng Title : To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts

Alt Title : To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts

JP Title : かつて神だった獣たちへ

Year : 2019

Genre : Action, Drama, Fantasy, Military, Shounen

Season : Summer 2019

Status : Complete

Rating : R - 17+ (violence & profanity)

Episodes : 12/12

Duration : 23 min. per ep.

Studios : MAPPA

Synopsis

With the initiation of the Patrian civil war came the creation of half-beast, half-human soldiers—a development of the outnumbered Northerners in a desperate attempt to counter the overwhelming Southern forces. Able to quickly dominate battlefields and achieve victory with ease, the soldiers' godlike abilities earned them the name "Incarnates." However, as the war raged on, the Incarnates encountered a problem involving the beasts inside them that they were unable to rectify by ordinary means. Once the war was over, mysteries and accounts of the Incarnates submitting to the misfortune of their war days surfaced. Aware of the horrors they faced during the war, Special Sergeant Major and former captain of the Incarnates Hank Henriette becomes a Beast Hunter—those who take the lives of Incarnates who have succumbed to the issues they experienced on the battlefields. After witnessing her father, a former Incarnate soldier, meet his end at the hands of one such Beast Hunter, Nancy Schaal Bancroft resolves to hunt the man who took her father's life. However, Nancy's eye-opening encounter with the Beast Hunter influences her to instead seek the reason behind her father's death and the Incarnates' problematic existence in society. [Written by MAL Rewrite]

This is one of the rare cases where I have actually read the first couple of volumes of the source manga prior to the anime version debuting. Because of that, this was one of my most-anticipated titles for the new season. The manga presented a mostly-grim story about soldiers who sacrificed deeply to help win a war only to have no place in a post-war era, effectively making literal the way that war can figuratively turn some soldiers into beasts incapable of functioning in normal society. The anime version seems to be following that theme as well, but the adaptation has already made some interesting choices in how it presents the premise, and they are choices that I think will benefit the series in the long run.

The manga opens with only a thin three pages of explanation before introducing Schaal, who will be the female co-star. In the anime version, however, Schaal is only briefly mentioned in the episode content and only finally appears in the episode’s very last scene. To fill in the intervening time, the anime version plays out how things got to the point where the manga starts, in part by incorporating in one pivotal flashback scene which appears in the manga’s second volume. As a result, this episode effectively serves as the main story’s prequel, to the point that I am a little surprised that this wasn’t listed as an episode 0. The big benefits here are that we are introduced to the Incarnates before they become the subjects of Hank’s hunts and shown how they get to the state of being problems, as well as being shown up front the defining betrayal on which the whole story pivots. We also get a much clearer idea up front of where Hank is coming from, though I am curious to see how that will impact Schaal’s discovery process about Hank in future episodes. Still, in general the material added here satisfyingly fleshes out the story, so the adaptation choices by director Jun Shishido (who has had previous successes with The Story of Saiunkoku and The Princess and the Pilot) so far are smart ones.

Evaluated on its own, the anime version presents a very graphically violent tale, one where a couple of scenes which are almost too light-hearted get ruthlessly drowned out by the bloodbath of the war. Emphasis is placed equally on how crucial the Incarnates are to the war effort and also on their mortality; they can die in battle, and even more terrifying things can happen when Incarnates fully lose their humanity. This is hardly new territory for anime, but this take on the basic “hunt down those who have gone dangerously rogue” premise has extra bite to it (if you’ll pardon the pun) that a lot of this title’s predecessors lack. Naturally it shows signs of a significant action component, but the first episode also holds the promise of the heavy theme suggested by the title and a sympathetic base is laid up front for the tragic nature of the monsters. On the downside, the episode also promises the incongruously light-hearted moments and the needlessly-sexy way that one recurring female character dresses which were both features of the manga, but those are minor distractions.

On the whole, a solid production effort by MAPPA and capable writing and directing choices make this a promising start to the Summer 2019 season. You can also free Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e anime watch online and free anime download.

Medieval fantasy anime are rare these days as compared to genres like rom-com and sci-fi. The good ones, even more so. As a fan of the genre, I’m always interested when I see a show set in the medieval age, hence To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts instantly caught my attention after I saw the PV. From the studio that had produced Zankyou no Terror, Zombieland Saga and Yuri!!! On Ice in recent years, there was cause for excitement, even though the PV had made it clear that this was a low-budget anime as compared to the other hits the studio has had. From the beginning, To the Abandoned Sacred beasts throws us into a war between the North and the South, with the South dominating the war for the most part until the North delved their hands into something they should never have: transforming humans into all-powerful beasts of destruction and war. The humans who’d been the victims of this were made to believe that they were special, revered by their army but on the inside, the entire populace was terrified of them. However, such beasts were only going to be useful until the end of the war. As soon as that ended, the army always wanted to get rid of these creatures who, in their view, threatened their existence. That’s pretty much the premise of the story. Not bad. Unoriginal, but the execution was fairly well handled at the start. Now, that’s where the problems begin. There comes a time when you get bored of the same script every episode over and over again. Find an Incarnate, hear about how they’ve been ravaging stuff around the area, talk to them, and then at the end of the episode, eliminate them. That’s the formula that was followed throughout the season. The repetitive nature of the plot had me rolling my eyes from boredom at times. We’ve got two main protagonists: Hank Henriette and Schaal Bancroft. Hank Henriette, the charismatic leader of these Sacred beasts or incarnates, as they’ve been called, is a pretty straight-forward character to understand. Being betrayed by your best friend, who also kills your lover is an easy way to make yourself hate someone, isn’t it? He’s about the only incarnate who’s neither lost his humanity completely nor wants to eradicate humanity for what they’ve put all of the Incarnates through. The threat posed by these mindless beasts who were once his comrades in arms is understood by Hank, hence he takes the mantle of eliminating them before they cause any further damage to society upon himself. And we follow his encounters with his fellow incarnates. Hank rarely showed emotions, keeping himself focused on his goal for the most part. The second protagonist is the daughter of one of the Incarnates. Loved by her adopted siblings, her father as well as the village, Schaal is an exuberant spirit full of positivity until he sees what’s happened to her father, who’s body had changed into a dragon permanently. Even so, she never hesitates to treat him as the same father she once knew. When one day Hank arrives and kills his father, she goes into rage and vows to track down his killer. As she meets and gets to know Hank though, she decides to accompany him and see for herself the reason for which her father had to be killed. As time passes, she begins to sympathize with Hank. Watching their interactions and relationship develop is one of the better points in the show. Talking about the animation, I was extremely disappointed. I was expecting a lot better from MAPPA, who’d done such amazing work in the past. Far too many of the battle scenes, which are supposed to be the best animated panels, are crappily done for the most part. The character designs are better but nothing to write home about. The soundtrack is meh, the voice acting okay. I guess they really had a low budget because there was one soundtrack they kept repeating over and over again in tense situations. The animation or the sound aren’t the factors that brought down the show for me though. The culmination of what Hank and Schaal did throughout the season didn’t have much of a payoff. The first few episodes were interesting, then the loop begins, ending on the same note. This may work for comedy, but doesn’t for action fantasy. The story had potential to develop into an intriguing story that shows the grey side of human nature. But alas, it never took off after the first episode.

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