Lately I noticed a growing interest in animal society stories. Contrary to popular opinion it did not start with Zootopia but I think it did influence more media like it popping up here and there. This one tells the story set in a world where both humans and animal people, called “Beastmen”, cohabit. Of course it is mostly told from the Beastmen’s side. Let us find out if it makes for an enjoyable viewing experience as we take a look at BNA (Brand New Animal).
Genres: Action, Comedy, Science-Fiction.
Themes: Animal People, Society.
Number of Episodes: 12
Plot Summary: In the 21st century, the existence of animal-humans came to light after being hidden in the darkness of history. Michiru lived life as a normal human, until one day she suddenly turns into a tanuki-human. She runs away and takes refuge in a special city area called “Anima City” that was set up 10 years ago for animal-humans to be able to live as themselves. There Michiru meets Shirō, a wolf-human who hates humans. Through Shirō, Michiru starts to learn about the worries, lifestyle, and joys of the animal-humans. As Michiru and Shirō try to learn why Michiru suddenly turned into an animal-human, they unexpectedly get wrapped up in a large incident.
In my Mizuchi review I mentioned one of the topics of discussion being the difference between human and bestial societies/packs. Think of BNA as a show centered around the subject, a mix of the two to be exact. Our heroine learns quickly that the Bestman society is not as amicable as she thought they would be. In fact they favor a more bestial way of living, such as “Survival of the fittest” or the intriguing and very entertaining sports gambling episode. While Beastmen are indeed persecuted, discriminated and reviled by much of humanity the same way Mutants are hated in the X-Men franchise they are not above committing crimes against each other. It goes back to the law of the wild mentality established in Anima City despite the Mayor’s best efforts to create a safe haven for Beastmen. It comes down to the species, power difference, lifestyle and various other factors Michiru takes a while to consider. More on her viewpoint in a bit. The point of contention between characters is how different is the Beastmen society from that of the “hew-manns”? Talks range from civil discussions to the more frequent violent conflicts. However, despite the dominant bestial mindset Beastmen are still part human so do not expect the human influence to get overlooked. Speaking of humans of course their side of the story will be brought up in an episode or two. Of course not everyone is all “I hate furries! GRRRRR!” but…
Speaking of conflicts the fights on the show are quite good. Think Bloody Roar, or Killing Bites as an anime example but not ecchi and with a dash of Studio Trigger action. Readers familiar with Kill La Kill or even Little Witch Academia TV may have an idea of how the fights animate. At times the action becomes hard to follow but it is all visually pleasing, especially in the later half of the show when the story ramps up big time. Speaking of Trigger expect the action to get ridiculously crazy in the best way possible as the story progresses.
Continuing with the story. Besides the above mentioned themes of points of discussion there is a growing mystery with more threads woven and reveals. Do not expect mind blowing twists as it becomes quite clear who are the ones fighting for Beastmen rights and who have their own selfish agendas or more sinister schemes. It is more about how the characters react to the clues and reveals. Expect some connection with culture, beliefs, history and of course SCIENCE!
I bring up KLK and LWA again because that is the best way to describe the presentation. Think of it like 80’s anime with a 2010’s coat of paint. The Beastmen designs are all pretty cool from our main tanuki to this cutie dolphin and another lady I will mention. My favorite Beastmen only makes one appearance in Episode 2. Longtime fans of mine can guess who it is. Shirou is also one of my favorite wolf men in all media next to Jon Talbain. The soundtrack is most excellent. The OP and ED are so good.
Let us go over the main duo. Kuro is the cool “pet” of a dynamic duo of heroes. The best way to describe main girl Michiru’s way of thinking and worldview is…straightforward. Keep this in mind while watching how she approaches things. What do I mean? To quote Linkara‘s description of Booster Gold in his review of “The Gift“:
He (In Michiru’s case, she) has a very uncomplicated view of morality and the world. How things should work and how to solve situations. She doesn’t think too hard about a problem because she doesn’t think the problem, and its solution, require a lot of thinking. If “A” is the problem then “B” is the solution. If someone tries to object with more complex details, she’ll brush them aside because they aren’t “A to B thinking”. This can be foolish but it doesn’t make her foolish, just that she doesn’t consider the broader ramifications of what she’s doing. But she will accept her faults when she’s confronted with said ramifications, and she will learn from her mistakes, especially when they’re costly ones.
This mindset however, helps when confronting others who try to make things sound more complex than they are. In simpler terms think Akko’s forwardness and Ryuko’s hothead nature in combat. Speaking of Michiru’s fighting style it is a sight to behold…
Shirou is Batman X Daredevil as a wolf. Nuff said. Sure, I could go into more detail but really he is part Batman, part Daredevil, only he has a superior sense of smell rather than sight. He is awesome.
The rest of the cast fill their roles as cool, fun or despicable. All do their jobs exceptionally well. Good stuff.
This brings us to why I reviewed this show here. Michiru’s relationship/connection to Nazuna. Without giving anything away, this relationship is the second most important plot of the show. the mystery and secret scheme is of course prevalent but the relationship these two have in flashbacks and then given more time at the halfway point of the show, is glorious. It falls under a familiar trope some mainstream yuri fans have a thing for. I am not one of them but the way it is handled and resolved made up for it.
If I were to rank the Trigger Couples/Ships it would be:
I am not familiar with the yuri in FranXX but I suppose it would be 4th. My good friend Dr T went into great detail on that topic HERE.
Overall BNA is another Studio Trigger anime I quite enjoyed. The story is as straightforward as Michiru but has its surprises. The presentation is vintage Trigger goodness, seeing Anima City and its denizens living their lives is fascinating, the action is visually pleasing, the cast fill their roles quite well and Michiru X Nazuna is cute and engaging. Recommended to people who would be interested in a “Zootopia x X-Men” show and especially ones who do not have problems watching a Trigger show based on their feelings toward the studio.
The show ended with potential for a sequel. Whether we will get one remains to be seen.