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Manga / Kemono Michi

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It's a Fight for Animal Rights!

On the night of his title match, professional wrestler Genzo Shibata, better known as "Animal Mask", gets whisked away to a fantasy world, summoned by Princess Altena Elgard Ratis, who tasks him with defeating demonic beasts. Unfortunately, Altena forgot one crucial detail about Genzo: he is an avid animal lover who dreams of one day opening up a pet shop once he hangs up his wrestling gear for good. Needless to say, he refuses the call.

More specifically, he gives her a German suplex.

After escaping the Princess with his pet dog Hiroyuki, Genzo decides to use his new life to finally pursue his lifelong dream of opening up a pet shop, assisted by entrepreneurial wolf-girl Shigure, omnivorous dragon-girl Hanako, and her vampire lady-in-waiting Carmilla Vanstein, find and tame every last demonic beast, and introduce to his new world the joys of pet ownership.

Kemono Michi (けものみち) is an ongoing 2016 manga series written by Natsume Akatsuki and illustrated by Mattakumo-suke and Yumeuta. It has been serialized in Monthly Shōnen Ace since November 2016, and also has anime adaptation directed by Kazuya Miura for Studio ENGI, airing in Fall 2019, with an English dub by Funimation under the English title Kemono Michi: Rise Up.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the Manga, after Genzo saved Shigeru from being sold to slavery, Shigeru begins calling him "master" because Genzo was ranting about how beast girls call people master by default until she's done paying him back. As this scene never takes place in the Anime, Shigeru just calls him by his name.
  • Aside Glance: The opening ends with Genzo, Shigure, Hanako, and Carmilla standing side-by-side with one or two of them turning to face the viewer. In the opening for the final episode, all of them face the viewer.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: When Genzo strides into an orc camp and asks for a fight with the strongest one there, an orc with an eyepatch answers his challenge. He is then quickly knocked aside by an even larger orc, who Genzo proceeds to have a wrestling match with.
  • Battle Harem: Heat Haze is strongly implied to have one, given that he is a transparent parody of the generic male isekai protagonist. Amusingly, they're never useful for anything more than dragging his unconscious ass off after triggering Genzo's Berserk Button.
  • Battle Strip: Hanako strips herself naked before fighting Joanna and Rose in order to avenge Carmilla's defeat, turning herself into a giant dragon to wipe the floor with them. The next we see her, she's already dressing herself back up while Joanna and Rose lay defeated.
  • Beast Man: Alongside sentient Little Bit Beastly species like Shigure, there are also bipedal, completely fur-covered, animalistic species, such as Kobolds.
  • The Beastmaster: Most animals quickly come around to love Genzo as much as he loves them, and his wrestling experience, brute strength, and incredible reflexes help him survive the initial "tough love" they show him. The few exceptions seem to be the especially dangerous and intelligent animals such as Griffins.
  • Berserk Button: Genzo has several:
    • As Altena learned, do not ask Genzo to kill animals, no matter how monstrous or dangerous they might be.
    • Do not call Genzo the "Demon Beast Killer." That is the fastest way to personally experience a pro wrestling move from modern Japan, and often times end up being used to break furniture, or become embedded into the ground, the ceiling, or the walls.
    • As Heat Haze keeps finding out, it is a bad idea to even mention that you're going to kill an animal/demon beast while Genzo is around.
    • Whatever you do, do not try to abduct Hiroyuki. Even if the dog has already been rescued by someone else, he will still track you down and wrestle you into submission.
  • Big Eater: Hanako is one hell of a voracious eater for her tiny stature. Despite her wealthy background, Hanako ran from home to escape her day-in, day-out regimen of being forced to eat orc/goblin/troll meat. Her primary motivation for exploring the world is to eat whatever (and sometimes, whoever) seems delicious, and Genzo pays her with food and lodging rather than a wage.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Genzo's first meeting and cuddling Gang, a Wolf Man who was trying to kidnap him and sell him into slavery. It becomes a traumatic experience for him that constantly haunts him, and it's all Played for Laughs.
  • Blatant Lies: Hanako always insists she's a half-dragon, instead of a full dragon, which is more dangerous and directly connected to the Demon Lord's forces. This is in spite of the overwhelming evidence that Shigure always finds, but Genzo either ignores or does not realize are there.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Carmilla frequently attempts to look powerful and threatening, only to be quickly quashed.
  • Brains and Brawn: Shigure and Genzo respectively. The former handles all matters of finance, accounting, and business, while the latter does almost all of their manual labor, fighting, and especially animal care.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: All Hanako cares for is food; get her engaged enough, though, and she will go full dragon-postal on the offending party, as Joanna and Rose found out.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Joanna, towards Hanako. Hanako takes it in stride, but when Joanna went after Carmilla, boy did Hanako snap, as Joanna found out. A rather LITERAL invocation of this trope.
  • The Butcher: Subverted. Genzo may be best known as the "Demon Beast Killer," but he would never actually kill an animal, and does his best to non-lethally subdue and tame every demon beast he comes across. It just so happens this world can't even begin to comprehend the idea of intentionally letting demon beasts live, more so taking care of them.
  • Butt-Monkey: Carmilla.
  • Comically Lopsided Rivalry: Animal Mask vs Masked Ogre (MAO). No matter how hard he trains, no matter how many other opponents he destroys, MAO always ends up pinned to the mat. It's explicitly stated that Animal Mask is the only person that he's never won against. It becomes a major plot-point when Genzo disappears during their final title match, and later, when MAO is also summoned into the same world by the demon faction.
  • Couch Gag: One/Some of the main cast looks at the screen (generally in their debut episodes) at the end of the opening credits, whoever it is depends on who is the main focus of the episode.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Genzo is practically as bad as Nagato when it comes to this. Hiroyuki, his dog, can also induce this on other hapless sentients, such as Gang, who failed to kidnap him because he was just too cute, giving Genzo's Giant Ant servant ample time to find and save Hiroyuki.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Shigure allowed Hanako to stay since she said she was fine without getting paid so long as she had food and a room. Then she sees just HOW MUCH she eats and regrets it as her gluttonous tendencies put them at risk of going into the red.
  • Eating Contest: Hanako enters one when she tries to earn her keep. Unfortunately, her Big Eater tendencies mean that the restaurant decides to start charging her when she just won't stop.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Almost nobody in Genzo's shop seem to mind the Giant Ant that simply showed up and decided to work as their housekeeper.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: After getting a one-way ticket to suplex city, with the consequence of getting her ass flashed to her servants and knights (white panties and all), Altena gets the unfortunate nickname "Princess Buttocks". Obviously, she's not happy about it, and intends to find Genzo and make him pay for it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Genzo, upon being summoned and asked to defeat demonic beasts, asked if they were animals, and upon getting confirmation that they were, promptly hit Princess Altena with a German suplex. This instantly established his status as a Friend to All Living Things who does not like the idea of killing anything.
  • Expy: In the context of Natsume Akatsuki's other famous work, several characters are mix-and-matches of those from Konosuba:
    • Genzo, like Kazuma Satou, is a transplant from Japan who also wears green in his civilian outfit, with dashes of Aqua's poor financial sense and Darkness' endurance.
    • Shigure shares Aqua's blue color motif and bluish hair (silvery, to be exact), though with her greed tempered by traces of Kazuma's financial savvy and being an anchor of sanity.
    • Hanako is the Megumin analogue, a girl dressed in red who proves to be far more powerful than her diminutive looks would suggest.
    • Carmilla combines Darkness's blonde hair, large breasts, natural charisma and dashes of masochism with Aqua's near-total uselessness and a tendency to be reduced into a tearful wreck.
    • Altena combines the position and blond hair of Princess Iris, Aqua's role as summoner, Chris's problems with keeping her dignity intact (usually involving panties), and eventually Darkness' penchant for masochism.
    • Besides being another transparent parody of the generic isekai protagonist, Heat Haze also took cues from Kyouya Mitsurugi, being a frequent punching-bag of the protagonist and whose loss of his signature sword Gram to be sold for cheap change now being turned into a Running Gag.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Hanako will eat anything. Anything. This can be meat from sentient and non-sentient creatures alike, to infrastructure like wooden posts. She also doesn't mind if her meat is still alive before she takes a bite. The only exception are humans because she doesn't think they taste good.
  • Eye Catch: Features the cast in wrestling gear in the ring.
  • Fantastic Racism: It's very mild, but Shigure claims obviously wolf-girls like her are the best, when Genzo goes off on the appeal of Little Bit Beastly creatures like her.
  • Food Chain of Evil: Hanako claims to have ran away from home to escape the constant menu of orc meat. Orcs are shown to be a fully sentient species capable of organizing into communities and living in houses, though they are infamous for relying on raiding and pillaging than creating their own production chains.
  • Formula with a Twist: This series asks the question: what if the Hero summoned to another world was an animal-loving pro wrestler who refused to harm even bloodthirsty monsters? The result is a parody that completely embraces how weird its premise (and hero) are.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Genzo, who absolutely despises the thought of killing anything. He eventually becomes an expert on beasts that he can tell one's age, gender and current health condition just by inspecting traces of it.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Demon Lord's forces intended to summon a Demon Lord from another world to fight on their behalf. They ended up with Masked Ogre, whose acronym "MAO" is synonymous with "maou", the Japanese word for "demon lord".
  • Furry Reminder: Shigure sometimes exhibits feral instincts, such as hissing back at Soldier Monkeys being aggressive at her, and panicking at the scent of extremely powerful predator species like dragons.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Princess Altena specifically summoned the most powerful warrior in another dimension, to try and save her kingdom from the demonic beasts. She got him, alright, but after he refused the call, all of her soldiers have been basically helpless at trying to stop him.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Genzo completely ignores a naked Shigure bathing in a lake in favor of staring at a nearby bathing unicorn. Shigure became rather annoyed by this.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: When Misha tries to convince a traumatized Wolfgang that it's all right to go outside because Genzo won't bother them if they don't go near his house he bursts into their room immediately.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Carmilla has been on the tail-end of constant physical and psychological abuse, such as nearly having her arms snapped off by Genzo, being chased by angry, armed mobs, being treated like a griffin's chew-toy, or having her Lady Hanako pretend she doesn't know her out of embarrassment and annoyance. Thankfully, she is a vampire and can just recover and resurrect from the numerous lethal situations she finds herself in. She just needs to be buried neck-deep on impure soil (e.g., being urinated on by Hiroyuki or being a vomiting ground).
  • Is It Something You Eat?: Hanako, constantly.
  • Klingon Promotion: Genzo becomes the new Orc King by challenging the previous king to a duel, then kicking his ass. He doesn't take the job of king though, just appoints him as his representative while he goes off collecting animals.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Genzo is built like a tank, can move as quickly as one roaring at full-speed, and hit with the force of a main gun blast or two.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Many sentient, bipedal residents of this world have animal ears, tails, horns, and other features. Interestingly, they coexist with full on Beast Men like the Kobolds.
  • The Load: In spite of explicitly being Hanako's lady-in-waiting, Carmilla spends most of her days at the store drinking, sleeping, and asking for money to indulge in her overflowing passion for her mistress. Whenever she is coerced or forced into working, she never contributes anything more meaningful than a temporary distraction as a demonic beast kills and/or eats her. It's telling that both Genzo and Hanako both have no qualms nor hesitations about leaving Carmilla behind.
  • Lost in Translation: Unless you're familiar with the Japanese term "Maou" (usually, "Demon Lord"), you won't get why Masked Ogre (MAO) was summoned when the Demon Faction explicitly wanted to summon another realm's "Maou" into their own.
  • Made of Iron: Along with his incredible raw power, speed, and reflexes, Genzo is also extraordinarily tough, being able to withstand several swipes by a Griffin's razor-sharp claws, and later surviving getting rammed directly into the side of a mountain, so hard he ends up in a crater. He can be knocked out, but it's telling he's not even bleeding nor scarred after so much abuse.
  • Maou the Demon King: An important part of the stock fantasy plot, since Genzo's rival's wrestling name being "MAO" is not only a joke about his own status as a hero summoned to save a fantasy kingdom, but the Masked Ogre being summoned by his enemies to stop him.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Due to her fairly revealing clothing and her natural charisma as a vampire, Carmilla gets chased out by an angry mob who mistook her for a whore when she went out one night trying to earn money for Genzo's shop.
  • Mood Whiplash: From the first episode, the tone switches from isekai to comedy when Genzo beats down the Princess.
  • My Greatest Failure: Summoning Genzo for Princess Altena. She got the most powerful warrior of another world, alright, but not only did he refuse her quest to save her world from the Demon Lord, but she also got to experience a German suplex firsthand, had her underwear and butt exposed to her entire royal court, and had the perpetrator successfully escape her guards. To add insult to injury, she is now forever known as "Princess Buttocks."
  • One-Hit KO: It never takes more than one vicious wrestling move for Genzo to take out all human opponents.
  • Only Sane Man: Shigure oftentimes has to be the reasonable one in the group, thinking of important things like food bills, loans and payments, and money in general, where the others are all too often distracted by their hedonistic impulses to care.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Genzo has absolutely no idea how to be fiscally responsible, and always insists on taming, housing, and feeding ever more demonic beasts, no matter how much they eat or impractical it is to do so, and frequently brags about how expensive and high-quality the food and amenities he gives all his pets. Shigure constantly complains about the cash-flow nightmare that is her boss and the rest of their employees, but she always finds a way to keep them afloat—either through honest labour, less-than-honest pawning of "dropped" swords, as mentioned below, or rarely, selling Hanako's shed dragon scales.
  • Pet the Dog: Hanako does care enough for Carmilla to defend her on a few occasions. When Genzo was about to incapacitate her with garlic and holy water (items that are toxic to vampires) she asked him to stop, when previously she cheered him breaking Carmilla's arms. In another story, rather than give up Carmilla to Joanna she kowtowed to her and humiliated herself, though she made up for it later in a battle with Joanna.
  • Precious Puppy: Hiroyuki, Genzo's dog.
  • Pretty Freeloaders:
    • Hanako and Carmilla's default state is lazing around and spending on food and alcohol, respectively, although Shigure can sometimes badger them into helping with work.
    • The demon beasts eat up most of the household budget without contributing anything. Probably only Genzo considers them "pretty", though.
  • Punched Across the Room: One of many fates that have befallen those who have called Genzo the Demon Beast Killer to his face.
  • Pun:
  • Red Baron: Heat Haze, the legendary adventurer, is only known by his title.
  • Refusal of the Call: Genzo does not appreciate being kidnapped from his last match before he retired to fulfill his lifelong dream, and much more strongly refuses being asked to kill animals, demonic or no. He even gives the Princess a German suplex to really get his displeasure across, and because of his immense strength as a warrior, no one is able to force him to.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Genzo's dog Hiroyuki.
  • The Rival: Masked Ogre (MAO) to Animal Mask, AKA Genzo. Their rivalry was extremely well-known in the original world, with Genzo being the only person MAO has never won against. It continues in the new world after MAO is summoned by the Demon Faction, explicitly to fight Princess Altena's hero: Genzo.
  • Rule of Cool: Somehow, Genzo challenging the leader of an Orc Tribe to a duel lets him use a small club as a microphone, complete with reverb, and everyone just so happens to play along with his treating it like it were a pro wrestling match.
  • Running Gag: Several.
    • Several characters notice how odd the Giant Ant is, but never comment about why it suddenly showed up at their table, is serving them tea, or sweeping up at the world's first and so far only pet store. It's very clear everyone has questions, but they don't bother to ask, and the author certainly isn't going to be giving answers out any time soon.
    • Heat Haze, the famous adventurer with his own personal Battle Harem, always ends up calling Genzo the "Demon Beast Killer" and experiencing a One-Hit KO. He always drops his expensive, very rare swords, which Shigure always picks up whilst claiming "Looks like someone forgot their sword!" then running away with it.
    • Carmilla being hurt, humiliated, and severely injured in some brutal and entertaining fashion.
    • Hanako wanting to consume anything and everything that seems like it might taste good, regardless of if majority of the sentient species would even consider it edible.
    • The gang get their hands on valuable items like Mandragoras and Garuda egg that would gain them funds, only to lose it because Hanako had eaten it.
  • Shout-Out: Genzo's wrestling outfit includes a Tiger Mask.
    • Hanako's full name is Lindabrea (Linda Blair, a horror actress) Fafnir (a dragon from Norse myth)
    • Heat Haze and his three ladies bear more than a passing resemblance to Kazuma's gang.
  • Skewed Priorities: Upon seeing dangerous creatures both sentient and not, Genzo's first impulse is always to snuggle them, shower them with affection, and try to get them to come home with him, regardless of if they're trying to kill him.
  • Slow Life Fantasy: The series stars Genzo, a pro-wrestler called "Animal Mask", who is summoned to a fantasy world during his last match before retiring to pursue his dream of opening a pet shop. He discovers that the reason he was summoned was to slay the "demon beasts" that plague the local kingdom. However, being a consummate animal lover, Genzo instead escapes and takes jobs at the local Adventure Guild to tame the various demon beasts rather than kill them, as the world he's summoned to has no concept of "pets" and thus his dream is that much more important. He takes no interest in the overarching conflicts between heroes and villains, and even when a Maou is summoned to fight him, it turns out to be his rival and opponent of his last match, Manchurian Ogre ("MAO"), which more or less results in the two settling things with a normal wrestling match.
  • Standard Japanese Fantasy Setting: The joke is that it takes place in such a, but the tropes involved are completely demolished by Genzo's idiosyncrasies. He (and his pet dog) are summoned by a princess during his last wrestling match before retirement. After learning that the task he was summoned for was to destroy the "demon beasts" plaguing the kingdom, he instead suplexes said princess and escapes. At the local Adventure Guild, he learns that this world has no concept of "pets", as all demon beasts are considered malevolent at best or pests at worst. With his insatiable (and often creepy) love for all things animal (including beastfolk), he decides instead to open the first-ever pet shop in this new world, using his ridiculous might to subdue and tame the various beasts the Guild would otherwise order destroyed. Along the way, the rival of one of his allies in turn summons his rival, Manchurian Ogre (aka "MAO") to act as the Maou to his Yuusha. All these, and many other standard tropes wind up completely turned on their head by the introduction of both pro-wrestling as a form of combat, and Genzo's unpredictable behavior.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • An uncommon case for an Isekai series. In a world where summoning champions to fight for the “good guys” is possible, wouldn’t it also be possible for the villains to summon their own? This happens when the forces of the Demon Lord summon MAO after hearing that the princess summoned a hero from another world.
    • Carmilla is known for being a subpar vampire, something both herself and Hanako are well aware of. When forced to duel, she loses badly against a vampire from a higher class, and in every other fight she's been involved she's been easily defeated as well.
      • Coincidentally, Joanna used this to humiliate both Carmilla and Hanako, with Hanako even getting on her knees in order to make up for going back on her word of getting rid of Carmilla as her lady-in-waiting. Hanako was more than ok with humiliating herself for Carmilla, but she was not ok with Joanna humiliating Carmilla, as she found out, with Hanako fully transforming into a dragon and trashing Joanna like if she was nothing.
    • Summoning a stranger from another world can end up with unforeseen negative results for the summoner, as Princess Altena finds out. More specifically, that the stranger will have absolutely no interest in the summoner's agenda.
  • Twinkle Smile: One of the hunters had this... before getting embedded into the wall for calling Genzo "Beast Killer".
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Hanako. She's a dragon loli who can defeat griffons and demons.
  • Tranquil Fury: Hanako. After Joanna had Carmilla completely humiliated.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Episode 6.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Genzo. Hitting the princess who summoned him with a German Suplex was the first of many instances.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Unsurprisingly, when your protagonist was a former professional wrestler. Genzo regularly performs a number of iconic wrestling moves—the German suplex he gave the Princess most notably—and whenever he gets into a serious match with a fellow humanoid like the Orc King, it's oftentimes framed as if it were a pro wrestling match.