BNA: Brand New Animal

Tagged: TV

Japanese animated tv series (2020). Original title Bī Enu Ē. Trigger. Directed by Yoh Yoshinari. Written by Kazuki Nakashima. Voice cast includes Yoshimasa Hosoya, Kaito Ishikawa, Sumire Morohoshi and Maria Naganawa. Twelve 23-minute episodes. Colour.

Earth is home to two human species (see Anthropology; Evolution), Homo sapiens and beastmen; the latter have the Beast Factor gene, so can Shapeshift between a human form and an anthropomorphized animal species. Though beastmen have been worshipped in the past – for example, Anubis (see Religion) – in the modern era they avoided contact with humans, until the latter's expansion made that impossible. They became second class citizens, often suffering violent oppression, including concentration camps and experimentation during World War Two. A decade ago the Japanese Government, with funding from Sylvasta Pharmaceuticals, created Animacity (see Cities), to house its Beastman population.

Tanuki (raccoon dog) girl Michiru Kagemori (Morohoshi) arrives in Animacity in time for its tenth anniversary, crossing paths with wolfman Shirou Oogami (Hosoya) as he foils a plot to ruin the celebrations. When Shirou declares his hatred for humans, Michiru tells him a year ago she was human, but suddenly changed – as had a friend, Nazuna Hiwatashi (Naganawa). Shirou initially disbelieves her: humans are humans, beastmen are beastmen. After some adventures Nazuna reappears, now the figurehead of a cult and pretending to be Ginrou-sama, the mythical Silver Wolf, protector of beastmen for the past thousand years. In fact, unbeknownst to Nazuna, the cult was created by Alan Sylvasta (Ishikawa), the President of Sylvasta Pharmaceuticals: his apparently human family are secretly pure-bred beastmen (Alan is blonde and blue-eyed) and plan to remove the despised "hybrid" beastmen. Beastmen are prone to Nirvasyl syndrome, a rage induced by being cooped together in close proximity: Alan wishes to use Nazuna to incite the city's population, to justify the imposition of a treatment that turns beastmen permanently human.

Over a year ago Michiru and Nazuna underwent a transfusion, but the blood used was accidentally taken from a Sylvasta laboratory researching beastmen Biology. They acquired the ability to transform into different sorts of beastmen (it takes Michiru a while to realize she is not just a Tanuki). Rather conveniently, a serum created from Michiru's and Nazuna's blood can cure Nirvasyl syndrome, leading to Alan's defeat by Michiru and Shirou (who, in an unsurprising twist, turns out to be the true Ginrou). At the close, it is accepted that Animacity's segregation from humanity is not the answer.

The show covers many weighty issues: racism (see Race in SF), cultural Identity, Eugenics and other forms of discrimination: though worthy, it does not go into much depth, and the sudden introduction of "pure-bred" beastmen as the Secret Masters of the human race does rather muddy the waters. Overall this is an entertaining Anime, with an impulsive but likeable protagonist and visually pleasing animation. [SP]

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