The Princess summoned a hero
only she got an animal-loving
Right from the start I’m not sold on this one. The main character being a pro-wrestler is definitely part of the issue, though given he’s an animal lover it might have balanced out. Only, Kemono Michi seems determined to play the wrestler as being dumb as bricks and have dialled up his animal obsession to almost creepy proportions. That said it isn’t all bad news.
The pro-wrestler angle does at least mean our main character isn’t a wimpy looking high school kid and given his immediate treatment of the princess, he isn’t going for the nice to everyone path that we’ve tread a million times before in isekai. Additionally, he doesn’t appear to be a villainous protagonist for the sake of being edge. I don’t much like him so far as a lead but he is a bit different at least. The novelty alone gets one more episode of viewing.
In terms of being another isekai after a season inundated with fairly lacklustre ones, this is a better first episode than Demon Lord Retry delivered with the visuals being neither fantastic nor particularly bad, the voice acting working well enough, an OP that isn’t going to top anyone’s list but was good enough, and a fantasy world that we’re all very used to seeing at this point in time (seriously, I think people need to re-evaluate what fantasy means given they insist on recreating the same world over and over).
What did bring this down a little bit for me was the type of ‘humour’ that seems to be employed throughout the episode. I’m not actually that concerned about the wrestler groping the animal people, though it was definitely eye-roll worthy. My bigger concern is that this anime seems to delight in setting up a standard sequence and then doing something utterly stupid with it in order to do a wink and nod at the audience seemingly asking us to praise them for their innovation. Whether it is the monologue being interrupted in the first scene, the princess welcoming the hero before getting tossed, the wrestler saving a girl about to be sold only to realise the girl’s own idiotic choices led to that, Kemono Michi repeats this same style of scene over and over again in this first episode and it isn’t exactly a winning formula.
So yes, a mixed bag indeed. Still, given my initial look over the Autumn anime season (sorry, fall) didn’t exactly show me that I was going to have a massive watch list so I’m tentatively considering this one for now but I’ll see what its second episode does.
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Images from: Hataage! Kemono Michi. Dir. K Miura. ENGI. 2019.