While watching episodes 7 + 8 of Kemono Michi I found myself often echoing the words of Shigure in regards to Genzo: What a pain. From the start of this anime he’s done things his own way and his obsession with animals and wrestling are part of his character but in these two episodes he’s just never satisfied regardless of what comes his way including a lizard girl and an entire pro-wrestling tournament. He’s just unsatisfied despite things seemingly going his way.
However, as a means of bringing all the hunter characters, the people we’ve met around town, and Genzo’s group together, I assume before we get to some kind of confrontation that requires all these people to band together, the two episodes work well. They provide a good reason for Genzo to confront the hunter’s guild leading to the match between the lizard girl and one of the hunters which is ultimately the inspiration for the tournament in the following episode. Throw in the food stall owners and the humans and demi-humans who fight and we’ve got all the players together. We even get the Princess receiving a flyer of the tournament in case we forgot that she’s the one who drew Genzo into the world in the first place.
Though while from a narrative point of view this all makes sense and there’s nothing overly wrong with the two episodes, Kemono Michi is definitely starting to lose steam. Even Shigure’s running joke of picking up ‘dropped’ weapons is starting to really wear thin and Hanako provides little outside of the little girl eats lots of food trope. Actually, Hanako and Camilla together add very little in terms of humour or plot and honestly they just seem to slow things down. I’d happily remove both the characters because I think what we’re left with is reasonable from an anime that rides on repeated gags.
I’m also assuming that for those who are watching for the wrestling aspect of this anime, episodes 7 + 8 were quite the treat with a heavy dose of it taking up a fair amount of run time. As someone who isn’t a wrestling fan this wasn’t bad, but it also didn’t add any appeal to these episodes. Though Shigure’s attempt at merchandising was pretty entertaining.
All and all, Kemono Michi remains one of those rare comedy focused anime that hasn’t managed to make me bored or walk away by the mid-season. While it isn’t exceptional, there’s enough elements that work and are amusing to keep me on board even as there are certain elements I could do without. I am curious as to where this one will finish for the season.
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Images from: Hataage! Kemono Michi. Dir. K Miura. ENGI. 2019.