REVIEW: ‘Kemono Jihen,’ Episode 5 – “Intrusion”

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Kemono Jihen Episode 5

A pattern has emerged with Kemono Jihen Episode 5 and it isn’t a great one. The show has hit a pattern stage in its villain portrayals. The supernatural anime focuses on young Kabane, a half-ghoul hanyo who is taken under the wing of Inugami at his detective agency. There he learns about the world of kemono and solves cases in the hopes of tracking down his parents someday. The anime is from Ajia-do (Ascendance of a BookwormKakushigoto) and based on the manga published in Japan by Shō Aimoto.

This week, a new character is introduced in the form of the vampire Mihai. Mihai hides away in a back room that the kids have been told to never go into. Turns out, this is because Mihai would make them his personal servant (not in a “cool vampire” way, more in a “get me snacks” way). Mihai’s set up could be the start of an interesting character to mix things up. According to Inugami, he is incredibly intelligent, but after spending years reading and learning everything, he got bored.

Now, he is hooked on online video games and lives at the agency in exchange for IT work. It is a comical intro, although he isn’t very likable given his attitude towards the children. Additionally, there is something slightly sinister beneath the surface. While he helps Inugami, he doesn’t seem to care for the kids the way Inugami does. Mihai just doesn’t want to be bored, so when he sees the opportunity to send the kids on a dangerous mission to test them, he takes advantage of the possible excitement and exploits it. How that pans out is yet to be revealed, but it could add an interesting element to the detective agency if danger lurks in their own home. Mosquito haters will not be thrilled by the more horror-oriented moments this week.

The real problem with Kemono Jihen Episode 5 is that it solidifies an uncomfortable pattern with how the show treats femininity. It isn’t completely mocked with Akira, but he is also generally portrayed as the most helpless of the boys. Additionally, the anime is only at the fifth episode, and yet a majority of the antagonists have been some form of a seductive, deceptive adult woman. Once again, it isn’t that these characters cannot exist, but if all the women kemono act this way it begins to look like the show has an issue with women.

There is Kon, and she has a sweet moment with Kabane this week. After discovering she has been replaced by Inari, she breaks down in tears in front of Kabane, who is at a loss as to how to comfort her. Kon struggles socially, similar to Kabane, and latches on to him. Unfortunately, she is left in the dust shortly after this episode. The show has been relatively empathetic to Kabane, Shiki, and even Akira. Kon is also a broken child, and while the layers are being added, overall her writing is still more simplistic and infantilized. It is frustrating. This anime has a lot going for it, but the longer it runs, the more glaring its consistent portrayals of femininity with negative connotations stand out.

Kemono Jihen Episode 5 is trying to set up interesting character development. It succeeds on some fronts, but it is truly showing a consistent issue with how it portrays women. It is a fun supernatural shonen, but it isn’t living up to the precedent set by its glorious premiere episode.

Kemono Jihen is streaming now on Funimation.

 

Kemono Jihen Episode 5 - "Intrusion"
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Kemono Jihen Episode 5 is trying to set up interesting character development. It succeeds on some fronts, but it is truly showing a consistent issue with how it portrays women. It is a fun supernatural shonen, but it isn’t living up to the precedent set by its glorious premiere episode.