If we’ve learned anything from Godzilla over the years, it’s that Japan knows how to make monsters memorable. With that in mind, when I saw the description for the new anime television series Kagewani, I was cautiously excited. Kagewani is about a scientist named Sousuke Banba who investigates a number of giant monsters that have appeared in Japan and begun attacking people. I’ve now seen the first episode of the series, titled “Doba”, and upon my first impression I think it’ll be worth continuing on with the series.
Kagewani is a short anime. Each episode is under eight minutes long, so there’s not really much of an investment in time to keep up with it. Unfortunately, the short duration of the episodes means that there might not be much story to be had either. My hopes for a good story are bolstered a bit by the creative team behind the series though.
Both the director, Tomoya Takashima, and writer, Hiromu Kumamoto, previously worked on a horror anime titled Yami Shibai. Yami Shibai was a short anthology series that focused on multiple tales of ghosts and other supernatural entities. Some episodes were better than others, but I quite enjoyed the series as a whole. It has some good creepy moments. The story in Kagewani looks like it will be approached differently since there appears to be a story arc carried over from week to week, but after just having watched the first episode, the tone of the series and the way in which the stories are told seem very similar.
The first episode is about a group of guys who attempt to fake a monster sighting video (kind of like the famous picture of the Loch Ness Monster) to post on their (presumably) YouTube channel in order to attract viewers. They get the wrong kind of attention though when one of their group disappears into woods. It’s a fun little story that’s not terribly surprising, but it is well done.
The art style in Kagewani is interesting. It’s very similar to the art style of Yami Shibai which was intended to evoke the traditional style of storytelling called “kamishibai” which uses paper scrolls. In Kagewani, the characters again look kind of like paper dolls with minimal animation. Some people might be put off by this, but I think it works for the stories that are being told. The limited animation allows for greater detail in the textures of the characters and backgrounds and the strange movements help to create a very unreal, uneasy sense of tension.
At the end of the episode we see Banba as he approaches the site where the boys were. He wasn’t really involved in this episode much, but he appears to have a hidden dark side that’s sure to come out as the series progresses. Maybe he’s connected to the monsters in some way? I guess I’ll have to keep watching to find out. I suggest you do too.
It’s no Godzilla, it seems it will be focused more on tension than action, but Kagewani looks like it will be a fun series to watch for monster fans. And at eight minutes a week, it’s not like many people can’t find the time. The show is currently airing in Japan and is also being carried as a simulcast on Crunchyroll.
Release Season: Fall 2015
Director: Tomoya Takashima
Writer: Hiromu Kumamoto
Featured Cast: Tomokazu Sugita
Series Length: 13 episodes
Episode Length: 7:50
Availability: Streaming on Crunchyroll