Ajin:Demi-Human is a manga series written and illustrated by Gamon Sakurai. It has an anime version (a trilogy) produced by Japanese 3DCG animation studio, Polygon Pictures. The live-action adaptation is under Toho, with Bayside Shakedown director Motohiro Katsuyuki and stars Satoh Takeru in the lead role, with Ayano Go, Chiba Yudai, Shirota Yuu, Hamabe Minami, and Yamada Yuki as supporting cast. The film is scheduled to be released on 30th September 2017.
What the movie is all about: The LA centers on a student, Kei Nagai (永井圭), who discovers he is an immortal referred to as Ajin. The realization only came when he was hit by a truck, died but actually recovered. He becomes a target for the government as Ajin are considered dangerous semi-human beings. While the government claims to help Ajin live in a safe environment, they are using them as subjects for cruel and inhumane experimentation. As a result, many Ajin that have escaped are bent on revenge with a specific Ajin, Sato (Ayano Gou), planning to destroy humanity. Is Kei the only one who can stop him?
Highlights: Directed by Motohiro Katsuyuki, the film is in safe hands as Katsuyuki is known for the LA adaptation of the Bayside Shakedown movies. He also did such films as Summer Time Machine Blues (Eita) and the wacky Space Travelers (Kaneshiro Takeshi). Director Katsuyuki is also assigned to do the live action for Fukushi Sota’s Laughing Under The Clouds.
Reports have it that the action sequences for Ajin: Demi-Human will be supervised by the same team who did those for Rurouni Kenshin, and that is great news. While many Japanese special effects have been questioned for their quality and authentic look, the Kenshin fight scenes and other effects were excellent.
Trailer Impressions: One of the most exciting half-minute long trailers I’ve seen in a long time. The trailer offers the audience a lot: suspense, thrills, and a glimpse into the humanity and/or inhumanity of the Ajin as seen from the eyes of both Satoh and Ayano – the characters who represent the good and the evil side of the demi-humans.
Thoughts: Satoh Takeru has gained a reputation as an actor who has a specific career goal. He will not do anything for the sake of making “just a movie”. His agency has seen to it that he gets cast in quality films. As Nagai Kei, he is a victim of terrifying and painful experiments and a rep for the “good” side of Ajin. This is not the first time that Satoh will play a character with conflicting personality. In the Kenshin trilogy, he was a former assassin who seeks atonement for his old ways.