BNA Episode 1 [First Impressions]

Shadow’s Impressions:

As I stated in the preview, since watching Kiznaiver, I went back to watching their other titles such as Kill la Kill, Gridman and Promare. So I’ve been fairly excited about watching this one since I’ve always liked the people with animal ear aesthetic since Inuyasha. Am I a furry? …I don’t believe I am? BUT ANYWAYS, I am a fan of just how the overall show looks. The use of color, the scribbly lines at times, a simplistic yet stunning designs, it all screams early trigger. From the artstyle, I got a lot of Kill la Kill vibes. However, going into the plot, they definitely are kind of taking Promare’s premise and spinning it into a different thing. Netflix already previewed the first six episodes of the series at once for whatever reason, but I wanted to wait for the official release and see where it goes from there.

Right off the bat, we can see that the world of BNA is composed of both human and beast people. However, in the first couple minutes of the show, there is a scene where a group of humans happen upon a pro beast people poster and spray paint “Beastman should die” over it. There is a very clear division between the two races with humans discriminating and fearing beast people. Because of course they are. The premise is very similar to Promare in that case with regular humans discriminating against those with “different abilities.” Following that spray paint scene, it shows a news shot of people rallying against beastmen with a pretty… gruesome indication of someone raising a spit with a stuffed bunny at the end of it. Already, the show creates a sympathetic view towards beast people. They’ve already been segregated to their own little island. LEAVE THEM ALONE AND LET THEM LIVE THEIR LIVES.

But man, that chase scene was really brutal. All of the insinuations that could have happened with all those different weapons was terrifying. Especially with the crossbow and the bats with nails on them. I can only imagine the poor beastmen that they’ve already come into contact with… Thankfully tanuki girl was able to escape with the help of Mary Itami, a shrewd mink beastman. I’m just thankful that we didn’t have to witness a cruel and unusual fate so early in.

We learn then that the little island for the beastmen were established 10 years ago, Animacity. And when tanuki girl lands there, they’re just so happening to be celebrating the anniversary of when the city was founded. With all the prejudice and negativity that the beastmen seemed to be subjected to, it was nice to see them all happy taking part in this celebration. Just reinforcing my hope for them to ALL LIVE HAPPILY AND PEACEFULLY. Also, there’s definitely something about silver wolves. It’s probably of great importance since it showed a glowing silhouette of one looking down at the city, all of the city folk were wearing silver wolf masks and then there was a large, silver wolf-like animatronic in the parade. And the other main character is also a wolf, so I’m sure there’s some kind of significance. Not to mention when we first encounter the wolf man, he’s crying and saying rather… far off things as if he’s lived a long time. Hmmmmm…

Anyways, in the midst of the celebrations, a terrorist attack is set off and things start getting WILD. Trigger really knows how to make everything look great with the scenery and animation, because from that smelling vision to the fight with the terrorist beastman group, everything was just a solid spectacle. The world that the wolf man sees through smell is definitely a really interesting way to tell a story without seeing things clearly. I just love the visuals in that world, how organic and non-organic things are differentiated and it’s basically a way to see things from the past play out. Which is really interesting.

I absolutely love the lighting and visual layouts of each shot. Not to mention the wacky almost western-styled animation that trigger is known for. Trigger just knows how to entertain visually and it’s great. I also really liked the detail to the wolf man’s expressions. It just added to his very menacing vibe during the fight, reminding me of the wolf man in Wolf Children, except way more intimidating. The lighting is very-eye catching and seemed to outline the characters in a dark atmosphere.

And while the audience sympathy has been immediately directed towards the beastmen, the show doesn’t shy away from the fact that, just like real people, not everyone from a certain species are all “good.” This terrorist group composed of beastmen showed us that no one is free of corruption. Even if they were hired by humans, they still chose to put their own species in danger for money. With that, I do hope we get at least one good human character because so far, we’ve only met slimy human characters or ones just out for beastmen blood. I don’t even consider the human mayor to be trustworthy because his tone just screams “I secretly want the beastmen to fall.” Not quite subtle to the viewers at all there. Even the beastman mayor doesn’t necessarily trust him.

During the fight, when the tanuki girl was saying how horrible it was to be beating up the terrorist group like that my immediate response was: No, hit him more. I admit, I got pretty annoyed with the tanuki girl when she referred to them as “poor people” and that beastmen shouldn’t be fighting other beastmen. Like GIRL, do you not know the world or something??? These guys literally put so many people in danger for money and were the ones to pull the trigger first against wolf man. Sure, his methods could have been seen as “too much” and his very one-dimensional view of “all humans are evil” can come across as very close-minded. I can kind of see where they were going with the two main characters been two opposite extremes, but it just felt a little unnatural. They definitely made it obvious showing the two in opposite lighting, with tanuki girl in blue lighting while the wolf man in red. However, I do like that the other lighting still reflected off of them, showing that they probably do need a little bit of the others’ morals and possibly a foreshadowing in how they will learn from or rub off on the other.

Almost immediately, there’s something noticeably different about the main character. Her “beast form” looks rather different from the other beast men with them turning into complete beast-like creatures while retaining very few human features. While tanuki girl seems to retain most of her human features while having animal appendages. So she looks like a blend between human and beastman. So I’m initially wondered if she’s some sort of hybrid between the two. Not to mention the mink lady called her an outlier which resulted in a flashback to Michiru being what I assume at home. However, judging from how she referred to herself as “was a human,” I can only assume that she’s not a natural cross between a beastman and human. Not to mention of her rather black and white view of beastmen in general. Things may be a bit more complex than I initially assumed with her.

There’s also definitely something more to this wolf main character as well. When he was first introduced, he talked as if he had lived for a very long time. And I couldn’t help but think back to one of the terrorists wondering if this guy was immortal or something. He even commented on how it was bold of the other terrorist to assume he was a greenhorn, making it seem like this guy is definitely a lot older than he seems. Which may explain why he’s so convinced that all humans cannot be trusted.

Trigger is definitely known for reusing their character designs, which could be taken laziness on the studio’s part. But I find it kind of hilarious since it feels like that one character just keeps living on in an alternate universe of some kind. One look at the wolf character’s design in the opening, my immediate response was: Katsuhira??? He definitely looks like an older and edgy version of Katsuhira from Kiznaiver… and I love it.

So far, the first episode isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it was still a fun watch. Though the opening song is a freaking banger and will probably be an opening I will never skip over because it’s just that catchy. I’m already a fan of the art style and I appreciate the use of CG so far. While it’s obvious that it’s CG, it’s done in a way where it just adds to the scene rather than distracts you from it. That’s when you know when CG is done well. Especially since they just seem to use it sparingly for certain camera movements such as panning out from an eagle eyed point of view. I’m not a huge fan of the tanuki girl because of how naive she is, but hopefully she’ll get better. I do hope to be able to cover this if no one else is interested, but there’s still a few other shows I want to check before coming to a definite conclusion. However, this definitely higher up on my list.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed

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Shadow

A passionate yet somewhat awkward individual who just wants to talk about anime

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