REVIEW: ‘Kemono Jihen,’ Episode 3 – “Foxes”

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Kemono Jihen Episode 3

Kemono Jihen Episode 3 continues the show’s success. The found family has layers and a comically satisfying action sequence that continues its penchant for horror. The anime is from Ajia-do (Ascendance of a Bookworm, Kakushigoto) and adapts the manga published in Japan by Shō Aimoto. It follows 13-year-old Kabane, a young half-ghoul who is taken under the wing of kemonoist Inugami. While training to be an investigator, Kabane hopes to track down his parents.

At the end of Episode 2, viewers were left to wonder if Inugami truly had selfless intentions when helping Kabane. In Kemono Jihen Episode 3, the woman at the other end of the phone call is revealed to be the superintendent of the police department, and she wants to meet Kabane. Her name is Inari, a kitsune, and Inugami unfortunately must turn to her on occasion during his investigations. They maintain an odd working relationship. As kitsune and tanuki kemono, they are inherently antagonistic and resort to manipulation to often put one another in each other’s debt. Inari also has the entire police department under her thumb. She uses her kitsune abilities to lull them into her unquestioning puppets.

Inugami’s decision to throw the kids into the belly of the beast is questionable at best. Granted, it does add an intriguing layer to his character, which isn’t unwelcome. It also allows for more lovely bonding between the three young boys. Shiki is textbook tsundere when it comes to Kabane, while Akira is just excited to get out on the town. The three meet another young kemono, Kon, who seems socially distant in a manner similar to Kabane. Her backstory isn’t given, but it is clear she has not had a healthy upbringing. Inari also appears to have her under her thumb and dependent on any semblance of praise. Kon creates another foil with Kabane in contrast to Shiki. It is fantastic to watch the show introduce these young kids in such dynamic ways.

All of this leads to a charged confrontation in Kemono Jihen Episode 3. The show’s morbidity is still present. Kabane is decapitated and his head placed in a briefcase so he cannot regenerate. It isn’t bloody, but this world is clearly not kind to children. Inari is detestable, making for a great antagonist in this show. Especially because she makes young Kon do her dirty work. Kon’s dependency creates a fight that is well animated and balances emotion with comedy near flawlessly. Not much this season can rival Shiki arguing with a headless Kabane about how to work together. The animation also makes the fight a blast to watch. Shiki deftly manipulating his webs is seamless. Kon is able to shapeshift as a kitsune. The animation does this eerily.

Kemono Jihen Episode 3 adds a few layers to current relationships and introduces a fun antagonist and possible new comrade. The animation succeeds in the most action-oriented confrontation of the show so far. Additionally, the show is able to balance the horror with comedy well. Shiki and Kabane’s team-up is a definite highlight. All in all, another successful week that expands the world of the show.

Kemono Jihen is streaming now on Funimation.

Kemono Jihen Episode 3
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Kemono Jihen Episode 3 adds a few layers to current relationships and introduces a fun antagonist and possible new comrade. The animation succeeds in the most action-oriented confrontation of the show so far. Additionally, the show is able to balance the horror with comedy well. Shiki and Kabane’s team-up is a definite highlight. All in all, another successful week that expands the world of the show.