What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the series premiere for Gleipnir! This is probably the best time to get into some good anime with so many other forms of television on hold. The past week in particular was a great time for me giving certain series a second chance, indulging in some I never had the time for before, and simply trying out others which seemed to have promise. Of those new ones with promise? Gleipnir ended up being one which caught my attention despite not being the kind that I would normally take a chance on.
Everything about this one screamed terrifying and odd. When those words come to mind, it is not usually at the top of my list to watch. Surprisingly, Gleipnir turned out to be a series with potential for what the first episode had to offer. All that I really knew jumping into this one was that the main character, Shuichi Kagaya, is a high school student who possesses the ability to transform into a monster resembling a giant mascot costume. A look that would give you the impression that he shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and yet would catch you off guard for having brute strength, and an abnormally strong sense of smell. Among other things of course. Sounds like a furry’s heaven no doubt, but even then there is more to this story than that.
What I expected was that they would do the usual thing where this was the episode where the main character first discovered they could turn into said thing and do said things. However, credit where it is due that when this story begins? All of this has already happened to Shuichi. He already lives a life where he knows that this monster is inside of him, that he could turn into it at any point, and knows how this strips him of anything that was supposed to be normal about his every day life. A bold choice which paid off because they weren’t trying to hold our hand and spoon-feed us this information about Shuichi. The story starts off with him already aware of what he now is, and everything after that is Shuichi trying to figure out his future knowing that nothing is as straightforward as it could have been before the change. With that said, the brilliance at the same time is the fact that they do not actually start off giving you the impression that anything wrong with Shuichi is because of the monster. It is something that they naturally work up to.
Instead, more time was spent focusing on the life that Shuichi was now missing out on thanks to this monster inside of him. The only thing that you would have found hard to believe was that Shuichi both had great grades and was skilled at sports. Not unusual obviously, though he also did not look like someone that physically capable. Aside from that it was refreshing to have a character like him who wasn’t shoved into a corner. Wasn’t the perv, the outcast, loner, or anything else that we have seen a million times. Just a regular kid who is now secretly anything but.
This brings us to Kurea “Clair” Aoki. Her introduction is where things begin to get dark. It was a bit difficult to like a character like her who is so willing to take advantage of someone the way she did, but you couldn’t argue with the bridge she built between the world of humans and monsters. She was aware of things that Shuichi was not. Asking the right questions, looking for the right answers to this mystery. For better or for worse Shuichi was where he needed to be when the scene came where he saved her, and where she would bring trouble knocking at their door.
One good thing that Gleipnir has going for it is an excellent animation style. This was actually one of the main things which brought this series to my attention. For as odd as it was that of all the monsters Shuichi could turn into that he would look like a mascot, the design was cool. When he sprung into action, you believed that he had that brute strength. Even how he transformed was pretty awesome for the way that the fur engulfs him, and how it sort of melts on and away when the transformation is incomplete. With that said, even the distortion effects made a difference in the end. This created an absence of normalcy in the face of things involving the monsters.
The Gleipnir premiere “Something Inside of Me” gave us a lot to look forward to from this series. This is a terrifying world of monsters that we are stepping into with Shuichi and Clair. What will keep us coming back for more is the thrill in understanding what it really means to be a monster inside and out.