Sakurai Gaimon’s 2012 sci-fi action horror manga publication, Ajin, was eventually met with its own film and television prospects in the past few years. Not for nothing either, having become one of the top listed manga faves in the last three years with at least one Readers Award nod for the 18th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, and in the Seinen categor for the 38th Annual Kodansha Manga Awards.
Of the seven collective film and TV installments, Seshita Hiroyuki directed both the current animated film trilogy that spawned from the manga as well as both animated seasons thusfar with Netflix currently streaming season one in the U.S. as of earlier this year. The show itself is one of the darkest and most brutal you’ll ever see, centered on Nagai Kei, a high school boy who becomes the center of an epic manhunt after his body reanimates and awakens after getting hit by a truck. The event further opens doors to conspiracies and mysteries surrounding mythological, translucent demons known as Ajin, symbiotic supernatural beings that grant certain abilities to their hosts, including immortality, a scream loud enough to induce temporary paralysis in others within close range, and manifest hideous, albeit invisible black ghosts to potentially control and manipulate.
Throughout the season, Nagai’s personality becomes something much more than what it appears to be from the first episode. His reclusiveness from other young teenagers and even those willing to become his friends, and his tumultuous relationship with his sister all play a role in this while a hidden faction, its members all bearing Ajin demons themselves, wage an all-out war, led by an unassuming old man for whom an entire squad of heavily armed soldiers would be mistaken to underestimate. One word: Shotgun.
This series is not only one of the best I’ve seen and I reckon the films measure all the same, and is also implicit of just why the manga itself is one of the best rated. It’s also apparently tantamount to its likely live-action feature film adaptation in the coming year with word from Anime News Network that actor Satoh Takeru, and the action team brought on board to bring the high caliber stuntwork and swordplay used for the actor’s starring role in Otomo Keishi’s Rurouni Kenshin trilogy, are here to bring the film to life. Motohiro Katsuyuki who helmed Shaolin Girl in 2006, as well as adaptations for Kaneshiro Takeshi-starrer Space Travelers in 2000 and with Shiotani Naoyoshi on the first season of Psycho Pass in 2015 is directing the film with Satoh’s role rewritten as a medical intern suiting the actor’s age.