Yay, our first look at the summer 2013 anime season! I was very excited to put the watch-list together this year because all the series seem to have so much potential. We’re starting with InuHasa (being westernized as Dog & Scissors).
Summary: InuHasa is the story of a book-obsessed boy who is killed while defending another citizen during a robbery. The twist in the plot, and consequentially the reason why it’s deemed “absurd” in most descriptions, is that the boy is reborn as a dachshund in the care of a “flat-chested and sadistic” novelist. Tough break, kid.
Plot/Storyline: In the first episode, we’re introduced to the boy, Kazuhito Harumi, and his caretaker, Kirihime Natsuno. Natsuno, disappointingly, turns out to be the true identity of Harumi’s favorite best-selling author. In this episode we have to live through the sad death of Harumi, which luckily, they didn’t dwell on too much as this is considered a comedic mystery. Aside form that, not a ton of plot development or indication of the direction the story will take. We learn that Harumi’s killer is still at large, so we can assume the story will be about 1) bringing him to justice, and 2) finding out the secret behind Harumi’s bizarre resurrection. Pretty straightforward and not necessarily the most exciting aspect of the series. I don’t think the plot or storyline will be this series’ defining feature.
Music/Animation: Production-wise, the series is created by Gonzo, who I LOVE. The art is pretty great, full of saturated tones that intensify the darkness of the grim root of the story, but also add a nice lightness when comedy is called for. I really like it, not too little, not too much. Well executed scenery as well as character design. Akito Matsuda, formerly Nijine, scored the series. This series walks a fine line as far as mood and ambiance goes. There is an inevitable darkness that comes with death, and especially murder, but at the same time, talking dachshunds are intrinsically comedic, so they have to find that balance, and I think they’re doing a great job using tools like music and animation to draw those comparisons without making it jarring for the viewer. Definite kudos in this department. Looking forward to seeing how they use those resources throughout the story.
Characters: Now on to my favorite part, and the feature I think will define this series: character development. This story is going to be about the characters and how they respond to the plot line, not the plot line itself, which I love just as much. We’re already seeing the duality of Natsuno’s sadistic personality, which abruptly changes from abusive to nurturing. She’s a textbook yandere character, which is nothing new, but still a fascinating archetype. Likewise, we haven’t seen Harumi begin to cope with his early and unjust death yet, right now he’s just upset because he can’t read books. It’s bound to catch up with him, but I can’t predict how he’ll respond to his fate, and that’s exciting.
Overall: Overall, the plot is decent, animation and music are beautifully executed and the characters have the potential to become a well-developed cast. The first episode (and the crazy title sequence) is already hinting at several more colorful characters we’re going to meet. I don’t know where this series is going, but I think I’d like stick around a while longer and find out.