Inuyashiki Last Hero
Episode 6

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Inuyashiki Last Hero ?

Note: Due to my packed holiday plans, episode 7 may not get separate coverage if it streams late next week (after Thursday night). If that happens, then it will be covered with episode 8 in two weeks.

If you've ever wanted to wreak unholy vengeance on someone online for their anonymously callous behavior, then this episode may have been made for you. Its last quarter is a bloody spree of killings whose scope makes Hiro's previous slaughters pale by comparison, transforming him from a mere serial killer into a next-level villain.

The way things get to this point is morbidly fascinating, as partly a condemnation of media sensationalism and partly a study in how a young man responds to his world crashing down around him. It starts with a brief reprieve when, after eluding the police, Hiro finds shelter with Shion, the girl who confessed to him last episode, who doesn't believe the news report and may herself be desperately grasping for something. (She lives with her grandmother and believes that she'll die young because both of her parents died of cancer.) However, any solace he gets from this respite is destroyed by the media first showing his mother tearfully apologizing for him and then reporting that she committed suicide. His response to this is to slaughter a slough of reporters hounding his father and then go after the denizens of 2chan (a popular Japanese message board) who have been saying nasty things about his mother and applauding her death. In the process, he refines a terrifying new application of his powers: remotely killing people by appearing on their computer or phone screen and targeting them directly. Meanwhile, Ichiro merely discovers that he has a USB port in his fingernail, can implement a phone receiver into his hardware, and has a close encounter with an astronaut on space walk when he tests how high he can fly.

All this continues to reinforce that Hiro isn't utterly heartless; he tearfully breaks down when he sees what's being said about his mother and after learning of his mother's suicide, then chooses to spare his father in the ensuing plot for vengeance. He also refrains from killing Shion and her grandmother even though he clearly considers it. It's implied through these past two episodes that Hiro might have backed off the killings had his mother not died, since he clearly didn't want to cause her distress. At the same time, his mother may have been his last connection to humanity, as there's no question that what he does after her loss is ruthlessly heinous. The distasteful part of all this is that the story goes out of its way to portray the 2chan denizens as unrepentant monsters to try and justify what Hiro is doing. It's easy to see parallels between Hiro and Light Yagami at this point. After all, he's a good-looking young man who cares about his family but reveals a lack of morals after gaining power. Though what he does is villainous, some might also look upon some of his actions as just.

All of that brings up the question of what Ichiro will be able to do against Hiro when their inevitable confrontation comes. Even with Ando's help, he seems more accidentally competent than truly a master of his new form like Hiro. On the other hand, seeing how the hero overcomes the more powerful/capable villain is usually half the fun of superhero stories. Much more of a concern are the increasingly frequent artistic lapses in the series. Close-up shots still look sharp but distance shots look much rougher, which is a worrisome trend.

Rating: B+

Inuyashiki Last Hero is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

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