Well… that happened. I’m not even sure how to talk about this episode because it essentially feels like such a cluttered mess. They essentially crammed so many “twists” into this final episode that I’m just baffled they thought this was a good idea. This series had a lot of potential, but in the end it felt like a lot of the ideas used were wasted since there weren’t any good pay offs in the end.
First off, the horror of Shirou biting Michiru in his berserked state was SUPER short-lived as he immediately went back to normal not even a minute into the episode. And of course Michiru is fine. I wasn’t about to fall for that fake-out last episode. Anyways, the detail that the beast factor mixed with human blood is the cure just feels… I dunno, weird. Especially since the fact that a human being injected with beast factor immediately allows them to shape shift into ANYTHING. Talk about needlessly OP. I just don’t know how to feel about that because now it’s like they could essentially turn people into weapons since the beast factor apparently allows humans to shape shift into anything they need. It felt too easy and simple for such an OP ability.
Aaand then there’s the BIG TWIST that Alan was a beastman all this time. Though when it happened, I wasn’t shocked, I was like: Oh, again??? Because if you’ve seen Promare, you’ll know what I mean. The entire lore to these god-like beastmen just feels way too overly simple with the blood of a thousand wolf beastmen granting immortality. None of the information they’ve given made me shocked more just a “oh, okay” type of reaction. Mild surprise at most. But then things shifted to fighting between pure breeds and “mutts” and it got a lot weirder. Or in this case, more convoluted. Not only did humans basically want to get rid or drive out the beastmen, but also this freaking pure breed? There’s…. a lot going on. Too much if you ask me. Not to mention they didn’t even properly build this up.
Alan’s character motivation felt way too simple, making him feel like a very black and white villain. It was annoying how literally everything that happened was always a “all according to plan” type of thing but Michiru was basically a thrown wrench to his his plans. So I will admit it felt at least a little satisfying seeing his knowing smile shift to being a bit frustrated that not everything was going the way he wanted. He also got off way too easily by “disappearing” despite trying to wipe out an entire city of “his people” while manipulating humans for a thousand years give or take.
And so the day was saved by Shirou’s howling and Michiru’s blood and somehow things are starting to be patched up between beastment and humans??? Um… I’m having trouble believing things are going in the right direction after YEARS of discrimination and almost nothing that would help the two species see eye-to-eye. One battle between a “pure breed” and a “mutt” wouldn’t fix something like that. In the first episode, we saw HUGE prejudice against beastmen with a gang of people basically trying kill Michiru for being a beastman. I know they wanted a happy end… but it all didn’t feel realistic in the progression of events.
Where do I even start…? BNA felt like a very promising series considering Trigger was doing well with their recent works such as SSSS Gridman and Promare. However, they dropped the ball HARD with this series. The first episode had a lot of interesting ideas but they failed to deliver on them. It felt like they were trying to cram as many ideas they could and the series ended up feeling like a complete mess.
Not to mention A LOT of the ideas portrayed in this series felt like a rehash of Promare. Such as humans discriminating against the group of people who “were not like them,” the twist villains are literally the same, main character learns that the subset of people are not as bad as they previously thought and giant “monster” fight at the end while allowing the big bad to live. And can I say that Shirou and Lio are basically the same freaking character? Both love their people and have an intense distrust and hatred for humans. Both of them go into an uncontrollable rage at one point while becoming a fighting duo with the main character.
The only thing that really differentiates their characters is that Lio is more attractive.
It feels like Trigger was trying to chase the coattails of Promare’s success and tried to use the same premise but put a different coat of paint over it. But I think the biggest problem with this series is that they tried to do WAY too much with too little time. I do feel like this series could have benefited if it were a two-cour show, similar to how I feel about Kiznaiver. Both shows had a lot narrative-wise, but just didn’t have the time to fully explore ideas put forth. But then again, BNA felt like it was stretching itself too thin with all the different themes and ideas it was playing up and probably should have just focused on one core issue that needs to be resolved. It’s obvious that Trigger wanted to do something big with this series, but severely overshot it. At least they didn’t bring aliens into the mess this time.
Also, the thing that Promare did better at showing was that the fire people could live side-by-side with normal people. While in BNA, they gave us so many examples of why Beastmen SHOULDN’T live with humans peacefully. A lot of beastmen are rowdy and violent at times. Not to mention, beastmen will turn into LITERAL MONSTERS if they get too stressed… like… who would want to be around a ticking timebomb??? And then when it came down to it, they had to separate the different species of beastmen too just to add to further segregation. At this point, it almost feels impossible for beastmen to live with humans and vice versa considering they even have problems even living amongst other beastmen. This series didn’t show us anything to ease the hatred between the two groups since it solely just focused on the beastmen side, making the ending feel super unconvincing.
The series also did terribly in showing us why Animacity was a paradise amongst beastmen besides the fact it was the only place they could live freely in a sense. Especially since they only showed the bad sides and underbelly of the city which made me think, no wonder Michiru hated beastmen. She literally was only shown the terrible ones. They focused too much on the negatives and didn’t allow for the positives to shine and made it feel too helpless. The only time we were really shown the beastmen happy was in the first episode… until terrorism happened. And also at the end of the baseball episode.
And then there are the characters. OH THE CHARACTERS. I did not care for anyone in this series. I really liked Michiru’s design, but that was about it. I honestly was hoping that Michiru would make more substantial character growth, but she mostly just stays the same save for her newfound respect for beastmen. She mostly just felt aggravating the entire time. At first, I gave her the benefit of a doubt since she’s a teenager and didn’t understand the culture of the beastmen while also kind of thrown into the predicament of becoming one. But when she goes ahead and runs into things based on assumptions, it gets pretty frustrating. Especially since she KEPT REPEATING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER. It’s like she didn’t learn from her mistakes. I feel like I could have liked her since she had the potential to have good development… but it ended up falling flat. Sure she changed her mind on beastmen and even accepted the fact she’s a hybrid now, but her core issues weren’t dealt with. While I do like her change in perspective of wanting to know beastmen more and was even fine with continuing on as a hybrid, I feel like it came way too late for me to care for her as a character anymore.
Shirou’s development wasn’t any better. It was frustrating because he was very adamant that there were no good humans in the world. Though I think the main issue to this was that there weren’t any good pure human characters in this series. All of them were either hybrids (Michiru and Nazuna) or shady individuals that revealed that they were never trustworthy. I feel like there needed to be actual other decent human beings in the show to help the narrative that not all humans are terrible. It’s hard to convince someone who believes all humans are evil otherwise when there is literally no one to prove that wrong. So the narrative is more so to blame for Shirou’s lack of development until the very end. He and Michiru could have been a fun duo to watch if they showed it more before near the end. I feel like they had them doing their own things for too long so there wasn’t enough time to flesh out their dynamic. But I admit that I did like the contrast he pulled in the last episode compared to the first where he chose to not beat the ever living crap out of Alan and instead spared him.
And then Nazuna… Man she annoyed me the entire way through. I was not convinced of her and Michiru’s friendship or their reconciliation. She acted so self important and was just not a nice person most of the time. I probably would have liked her more if she actually ended up being the true antagonist of the series. And while she didn’t have to be completely evil, I feel like she would have been a good mislead antagonist. But nope, shot that hope down real fast.
Overall, the series was a mess and way too ambitious. I felt like they were trying to do something big, but got confused along the way, confusing me along with it. I will admit the animation at least was fun to watch at times. But the plot became convoluted and the character motivations were quite lacking. I like shows that have subtleties and foreshadowings and when pay offs happen, my mind will immediately think back to what happened in earlier episodes and go: OOOOOOOH IT MAKES SENSE. However, things were so obvious in BNA or came out of left field where I just go “Oh…okay” most of the time. Nothing felt like a revelation and I found myself a bit disappointed most of the time. By the end of the story felt like things were just starting since it actually felt like development was finally happening with the characters but it just ends.
While I’m disappointed with BNA I wouldn’t say it was a terrible show, just very clumsily executed. (At least it didn’t make me angry) But even then, I’ll have to give it a 6/10 due to the lack of character development, bland and surface level world building and clumsy plot progression.