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Manga / Kemono Jihen

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There's a whole other world out there note 

Our story begins when a detective named Kohachi Inugami, a specialist in the occult, is called to a remote Japanese village to solve a pressing case: the local animals are being killed and devoured and their bodies were rotting away within a single day. He checks in at the local inn while investigating, discovering that a quiet boy nicknamed "Dorotabō" was forced to work in the fields instead of being sent to school. Intrigued, Inugami asks for Dorotabō's help specifically, much to the shock of the innkeeper and the local townspeople, who constantly demean the boy and never use his real name, Kabane Kusaka.

It isn't long until it's clear that supernatural forces are at work, and his nickname may not be the only inhuman thing about Dorotabō...

Kemono Jihen (Monster Incident) is a Urban Fantasy Shōnen manga written by Shou Aimoto, who is most famous for writing Hokenshitsu no Shinigami, and began running in Jump SQ, an off-shoot of the legendary Shonen Jump, in 2016. It follows Kabane as he discovers the world of kemono, supernatural creatures akin to the monsters of lore, as well as the war brewing between those determined to uphold the Masquerade and maintain the peace and those who would rather gain the power to lord over humans and kemono alike.

An anime adaptation was announced in late 2019 and began running in January 2021.

Provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:Two instances in the English dub:
    • Kristen McGuire playing a Kitsune? Senko, is that you?
    • Patrick Seitz as a sharply-dressed man who uses guns that are materialized out of thin air and is seen as a parental figure to the protagonist. Are we talking about Inugami or Kunikida?
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the manga, Shiki and Akira don't come home until after Inugami takes Kabane on his first case. In the anime, they walk in the door as soon as Kabane puts on the clothes Inugami took from Shiki's laundry basket.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: The female Kappa of Kyoto are incredibly passionate about their love for sumo and respect anyone who can beat them in a sumo contest. When Inugami gets in the ring with a teenaged wrestler named Kiyo to earn the Purity Calculus, he's nearly thrown out at the outset due to her powerful lower body. But he beats her by transforming into an enormous bear-like tanuki large and strong enough to pick her up in a Bridal Carry and gently place her outside of the ring. This one gesture gets the entire crowd of female wrestlers head over heels for him and he has to flee in tanuki form to avoid the crowd of fangirls.
  • Arc Villain: Inari's diverse kitsune subordinates are usually the main threat in most arcs, as she can't leave Tokyo herself, but there are other issues to deal with in the way, like Shiki's uncle and Akira's brother
  • Artifact of Power: The Kemono Calculi are small objects, each of which has a unique power. Kabane's calculus is the Life Calculus, and it negates the need for khoular or onis to eat human flesh. Yui's Nil Calculus is a potent Amplifier Artifact that boosts his ice powers to ridiculous levels and kills everything else.
  • Abusive Parents: Not parent, but Kabane's aunt and guardian, the innkeeper, is horrible to him to the point that she won't even use his real name, a habit that the rest of the townsfolk have picked up on.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: Kitsune are shown to be sociopathic, shapeshifting creatures who prey on humans and kemono alike. Under the guidance of their leader, Inari, they seek to gather the Kemono Calculi to take over Japan.
  • Baffled by Own Biology: In Yui's backstory, his twin brother Akira confessed he'd wet the bed the night before- except, as it turns out, it was his first Nocturnal Emission.
  • Big Bad: Although the main characters are broadly working with her at the start of the story, the race for the calculi is on once Inari openly tries to attack Kabane and take his calculus. Inari and her kitsune underlings share the same goal as them - to gather and combine all the calculus. But unlike the heroes, who simply want to piece together the calculus, which might help Kabane find his parents, Inari intends to use them to take over the country.
  • Black Comedy: A lot of comedy is made at Kabane's expense and his tendency to get dismembered thanks to his ability to regenerate, mainly with others reacting to him getting into situations that would kill anyone else, like getting his head cut off or his neck snapped.
  • Blunt "Yes": Kabane's reaction to Inugami asking him if he thinks Akira is useless.
    Inugami: Good grief... Kabane, do you think Akira is dead weight too?
    Kabane: Yes. But I'm fine with that.
  • Body Horror: Kabane's primary power is regeneration and ignoring pain, which means he is brutality mutilated and torn to pieces in pretty much every fight he is in. Robara's power is a sort of flesh spray he can use to heal others... or to meld and manipulate their bodies to his whim, turning them into nightmarish "works of art".
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: As Kabane and Shiki grow closer, they soon fall into this kind of routine, as Shiki is forced to be the straight man who reins in Kabane's socially inept antics.
  • Breeding Slave:
    • Pretty much the fate of every yuki-onokos, like Yui and Akira born to the tribe. They are seen as little more than a tool for reproduction, and they are locked away to wither and die after they reach impotence.
    • Likewise, Shiki's mother was manipulated by her brother-in-law, who pimped her out to other kemonos in order for her to conceive a kemono who possesses the golden thread.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Inugami full stop. He's quirky as hell and has the idea to moon Kabane; to prove a point, but he has extensive knowledge of kemono varieties and habits and is extremely competent when he needs to be.
  • Conveniently Orphaned: The kids of the Inugami office are brought together because of their parents either being dead or missing. Kabane's parents left him with his Evil Aunt, Shiki's parents went missing when he was young, and Akira never knew his parents due to the nature of his tribe. It's later downplayed with Shiki, as his mother is eventually found and very much alive.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Kemono Calculi are actually the pieces of a Khoular's skeleton, as a Khoular's fire is guaranteed to keep the artifacts undamaged for centuries. Piecing them together could revive said Khoular, and doing so is Kabane's main goal. In turn, Inari wants to use their different powers to Take Over the World, but avoids combining them because it affects their functionality and she has no interest in the original Khoular.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The anime's opening, "Kemono Michi", is performed by Daisuke Ono, who voices Mihai.
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: Yui's backstory features an unusually serious version of this trope: one day his twin brother Akira sheepishly admits that he wet the bed the previous night despite being a teenager. Yui, who started going through puberty a bit earlier than his twin, realizes that Akira most likely didn't wet the bed but instead actually experienced his first Nocturnal Emission— meaning that the women of their village will now consider him mature enough to subject to the same horrific treatment as Yui.
  • Expert Consultant: Inugami's kemono office is officially a group of "specialists" called in by transmetropolitan police in order to keep up The Masquerade. The office's credentials are apparently so thorough that Inugami can easily let Kabane, a thirteen-year-old boy, into an ongoing crisis situation with his approval. The agency presumably loses this level of authority after Inari begins waging war against it and the other kemono for dominance, as shown by Kon's own lack of standing after being cast out by Inari.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans aware of kemono show a clear amount of disdain for them, as evidenced by Kabane's aunt.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Deliberately inverted with the yuki-onnas, who are downright abominable in their treatment of the male ones, yuki-onokos, like Akira and his twin Yui.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Tanuki and kitsune usually take human-shaped forms with their illusionary abilities to walk seamlessly among humans. Sufficiently startling or angering them can cause a Glamour Failure, revealing their true forms as raccoon-like creatures and monstrous foxes respectively. Probably subverted with the kitsune as Kon retained her human form even when blown to bits.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Kabane's Life Calculus is not the only calculus that exists in the country. Indeed, each named Calculus is merely a fragment of a Khoular skeleton. Both Inugami's Detective Agency and Inari's kitsune forces are attempting to gather all the Calculi, though both have vastly differing motives.
  • The Great Offscreen War: The eponymous Kemono Jihen was a major war between Kemono and humans a thousand years ago. The resulting devastation convinced kemono to hide themselves from humans and erase the memory of their existence from humanity, allowing themselves to fade into myth and obscurity. The point of kemono offices like Inugami's is to allow kemono to live peacefully among humans while preventing needless conflict that could ignite tensions on both sides.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Shiki is the son of a human man and a kemono Arachne woman.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Happens all the time to Kabane, but it barely slows him down due to his extreme regeneration.
  • Harmful to Minors:
    • In the second chapter, the rescue workers tell Inugami not to let Kabane see the sealed room, as it could be traumatizing to children. Inugami waves off their concerns, as Kabane is The Stoic and Conditioned to Accept Horror.
    • As a child, Shiki witnessed his mother getting raped by kemono as part of his uncle's scheme to create the Golden Thread. Akio gave Shiki a Tap on the Head with a rock before gaslighting him to make it forget it happened.
  • Harmless Freezing: Averted. When Akira uses his powers to freeze a group of kappa kemono, they're all killed instantly. And when Akira's brother Yui freezes Inugami, Kabane, and Shiki, the only reason any of them live is because of their special powers.note 
  • Hidden Elf Village: The tanuki reside in Yashima Temple, a site hidden in Shikoku through the use of the tanukis' trademark illusions. The only way to get inside is to turn a leaf into cash and lay it out as an offering to the tanuki statue in front, ensuring that only kemono with powerful illusionary abilities can enter. Unfortunately, this also means that kitsune who are in the know can also invade the village, as shown when Inari sends Nobimaru to kill Kon and steal the Life Calculus.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Inugami admits that technology is not his strong suit, letting Mihai take care all of the technical aspects of the office such as hiding their cell phone data from Inari.
  • Kid Hero: Inugami's office is almost entirely staffed by the kids he takes in and cares for, Kabane, Shiki, and Akira. Together they take on monstrous kemono and attempt to uphold the Masquerade to prevent kemono and humans from going to war again.
  • Lip Losses: A formless kemono becomes infatuated with a handsome man working at a shop, but due to lacking a body, she can't greet him. In an attempt to remedy this, she begins ripping the facial features off pretty young women, including tearing their lips right off their faces. The kemono doesn't stop until Aya uses her abilities to grant her a human outer appearance.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Hinata is rather tomboyish and physical while Robara is rather effeminate and focused on art. This applied even when they first met as children, with Hinata having very short hairstyle while Robara had longer flowing hair that covered much of his face. However, Hinata is the more morally minded of the two as Robara is something of a psychopath.
  • Masquerade: The vast majority of people are unaware of the existence of kemono, with the police baffled on how to address them outside of asking for "specialists" like Inugami.
  • The Nose Knows: All kemono give off a distinctive smell that's unpleasant to humans, leading kemono to mask it with a special perfume.
  • Not Used to Freedom: Kabane was used by his Evil Aunt as free labor and constantly made to do tasks, rather than do things like go to school or hang out with others his age. By the time he's thirteen (he thinks), he's so unused to the idea of having his own free time that he stares at a wall and waits for instructions when there's nothing to do at Inugami's office.
  • Objectshifting: Inugami catches one of his younger peers snooping on him after spotting his tail on a garden statue.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Kemono is a collective term used to refer to supernatural creatures of all kinds, from Khoulars to yuki-onokos to vampires. All of them give off a peculiar scent that's foul-smelling to humans as a telltale sign of their inhuman nature. Some of them can take on human forms or at least use Glamour to hide themselves among them. Many kemono can also procreate with humans, resulting with half-human, half-kemono hybrids like Kabane and Shiki.
  • Parental Abandonment Applies to every main child character, bar maybe Akira due to the nature of his tribe. Shiki also luckily avoids this trope after previously thinking his mother was dead.
  • Playing with Fire: The ability to instantly conjure fire is one of the signature abilities of the kitsune, who all use it to one extent or another.
  • Progressively Prettier: Initially, the beastial forms of the kitsune were genuinely agressive and scary looking, with very angular eyes and sharp teeth. As the series has progressed, the kitsunes' animal forms have gotten a lot cuter, with much wider puppy dog eyes and "friendlier" mouths. Kon was the first to experience this as she became more heroic, but even the antagonistic kitsune are not immune to this.
  • Tanuki: An entire tribe of tanuki lives in Yashima Village and Inugami is one of them. They're treated as the Good Counterpart of the kitsune, due to not eating humans for nourishment and generally being good-natured compared to the sociopathic murderers that make up Inari's ranks.
  • Those Two Guys: Akagi and Kaede are basically never seen apart, as they are partners within Inari's ranks. Even after she removes them from her service, they continue to work together to put themselves back in her good graces. However, they are like night and day. Kaede is a slovenly Big Guy who only wants to fight and eat while Agaki is a very neurotic neat freak who is constantly annoyed by Kaede's antics.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Downplayed. Inugami's office is based in Tokyo and the heroes do most of their day-to-day work there. But the events of the story take them all over Japan, from Shikoku to Okinawa.
  • Trip Trap: Shiki draws out a line of silk to trip Kabane on his way to the bath to interrogate him. It's so sticky that it would be impossible for Kabane to free himself without tearing the skin off. But given that he Feels No Pain and has a powerful Healing Factor, he does just that, freaking Shiki out.
  • Urban Fantasy: After the intro, the story, and all of its fantastical elements, head straight to Tokyo.
  • Youkai: The majority of the Kemono that appear in the series are based on youkai due to the setting of the story. For instance, Inugami is a bakedanuki and Lady Inari and her cohorts are kitsune. While Kabane is referred to as a Khoular, his transformation is more akin to a Japanese oni.