Mysterious monsters called "UMA" suddenly appear in the present day and attack humans. The scientist Sousuke Banba pursues the truth with the keyword "Kagewani," a word that literally means "Shadow Crocodile."
Do you like kaiju? Are you interested in bite sized bursts of kaiju goodness to refresh you from your drought of weird creatures terrorizing hapless civilians? Do you not mind a paper thin plot that only serves to loosly link each monster attack, without bogging the limited run time with human characters you don't care about? Then Kagewani is the anime for you. The monster sounds are good to great. The animation style is unique and overlayed with a nice filter that gives the show a greater aura of those old monster movies of days of past. Characters? Story? Who cares!? This is a short form anime meant to pander to kaiju fans and it is all it should be. In that regard, it does alright for a short form anime. Could it be better? Yes! But it does ok for what it's trying to do.
What I Liked: The visuals, which took some getting used to. Episode 3, with its plot of revenge and nauseating atmosphere. Episode 6 was also a stand-out, as it had a great sense of tension and atmosphere. Sound design isn't half bad. What I Didn't: The visuals, which felt like some student's animation project at times. The hamfisted Alien and Tremors references. Many of the earlier episodes were standard ridiculous creature-feature gore porn, with later episodes feeling like lazy attempts at joining the previous episodes together. The protagonist was about as fascinating as watching paint dry, and having important people to him die did nothing to further his development. Invokes the Disposable Woman trope. The antagonist was a standard "environmentally unfriendly villian", complete with plans of militarisation. Nothing interesting was done with the tribe hunting the UMA/Kagewani. The series couldn't decide on what to call the monsters. Final Verdict: I know Kagewani is meant to be a horror-with-monsters anime, but its hamfisted homages to other (better) horror flicks, the uneven quality between episodes, the stiff animation and its ultimately uninteresting and useless protagonist left me feeling disappointed. While it's not as formulaic as some horror anime, it still feels messy and amateurish.
Each episode was about 12 minutes so it was an easy binge. The animation style took a bit of getting used to, but with the attention to sound, this “flash card” like style of traditional storytelling worked for me. The scenes lack of motion was made up for with the sound and attention to other details, such as drifting dust across the screen, or the sound being a nice match for the sceen. The characters took a bit long to develop but honestly, I don’t understand why all the negative reviews. Perhaps my being a horror fan for many years has me jaded to most western horror and this had me enjoying it because it was something different. I think the shorter episode length a good fit for this anime. The story was a monster hunt that featured different types of monsters beside the main one, which muddied it a bit for my taste. It was not made clear to me how/if the monsters were related. I think they needed to tie the monsters together more. That would have made the story flow better. The ending was a bit muddy for my taste, but I like a clean as a whistle ending. I don’t think it is for everyone and despite the problems, I did enjoy this anime. I would recommend it to horror fans that are looking for something different.
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