INUYASHIKI LAST HERO (anime TV series)
Review by Dennis D. McDonald
Two humans in modern day Japan are turned into robotic fighting machines possessing superhuman powers. These include the ability to miraculously heal victims of violence and disease.
Each retains his original personality. One takes the path of good, the other the path of evil. Inevitably they clash.
Despite the horrific amounts of blood and destruction in INUYASHIKI, many tears are shed as well. The realistically rendered characters explore all manners of human frailty in their relationships. Love, regret, jealousy, hate, forgiveness, guilt -- all are on display against a backdrop of steadily deteriorating social order.
The evil one employs advanced communication technology to render common media as instruments of mass murder. Yet repeatedly we also witness individual examples of love, affection, sorrow, and humanity.
How much of an allegory and satire is this? The theme of "What makes us human?" has always been a staple of science fiction that goes back to FRANKENSTEIN and METROPOLIS. What makes INUYASHIKI unique, and in my opinion exceptional, is the matter of fact way it deals with good and evil without allowing the viewer to turn away from images of slaughter and disaster intermingled with tearful joy and affection.
Like it or not, these are all examples of how humans behave. Maybe that's the point. We are left with the realization that, as horrific as these illustrated examples of inhumanity are, we have already witnessed similar inhumanity in our world's history.
Are the Japanese people uniquely qualified to reflect on these realities having experienced so many of their own natural as well as human-caused disasters? Perhaps, but the themes illustrated here are disturbingly universal.
Technically I found this anime to be one of the best I've seen in terms of character design and movement. Faces and eyes are realistically rendered. Subtitles in English are easy to follow. CGI and hand drawing are well mixed. Action sequences are beautifully choreographed.
A final note. One jarring sequence in a later episode involves President Trump appearing on television to make a pronouncement concerning evolving disasters. Intentionally satirical with regard to his personality, this sequence reminds us of the lasting damage he is doing as he weakens America's reputation around the world. Such images, forever contained in widely distributed media like this, will haunt us for many years to come.
Review copyright (c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald