BNA: Brand New Animal season 1 review — an anime that has plenty of important messages

June 30, 2020
Daniel Hart 3
Netflix, TV Reviews
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Anime BNA: Brand New Animal is a good opening story that will hopefully be fleshed out for further seasons.

This review of Netflix anime series BNA: Brand New Animal contains no spoilers.

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Beneath the action and the tendency to humanize the animals, Netflix’s BNA: Brand New Animal serves some very important messages about society, especially in our turbulent times during culture wars and plenty of noise.

The main plot point in BNA: Brand New Animal is in this world, there are beastmen — they are essentially humans that can form into a variety of different animals. Beastmen and humans struggle to co-exist — the tension is unbearable which has caused the minority to live in Anima-City which accepts this group.

The great dislike of beastmen by humans could easily be replaced by real world minority groups in our own society and the story would make sense, if you remove sci-fi elements. Another theme is how the beastmen have grown a heavy dislike towards humans due to their horrifying treatment — all this sounds uncannily familiar; it’s almost a theory on the human race.

What’s upsetting at the root of the story of BNA: Brand New Animal is how the beastman try their hardest to comply with human standards driven by a mayor desperate for decent diplomacy to make progress. Again, we’ve seen this in our society plenty of times — “Be British! Learn our history! You don’t belong here if you don’t act like us!”.

But getting away from the themes, BNA: Brand New Animal is about a character called Michiru who has suddenly formed into a beastman and has to hastily flee for refuge in Anima-City as she’s being heavily discriminated against and persecuted. At Anima-City, she befriends a wolf named Shirou, who half-heartedly brings her under his wing. The wolf hates humans.

The Netflix anime battles with Michiru’s battle of wanting to turn back into full human form, while on the other hand, educates herself about the lives of the beastmen. In many ways, it is a touching story that highlights growth and education of a young character, desperate to become accustomed to the world.

As Michiru grows accustomed, the science, the politics and the power struggles forms a wider story that will entice viewers. Anime BNA: Brand New Animal season 1 is a good opening story that will hopefully be fleshed out for further seasons.

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3 thoughts on “BNA: Brand New Animal season 1 review — an anime that has plenty of important messages

  • July 6, 2020 at 10:56 am

    After reading this review I think, we might have watch different shows. I would be VERY careful making any parallels between oppressed minorities and beastmen. It was stated many times how beastmen believe in “might makes right” philosophy, are not above killing each other for gains (in sports) and communities are riddled with crime activities. Those and other examples would make equating beastmen to oppressed minorities very problematic[sic!] and I discourage author from doing that.

  • September 1, 2020 at 9:26 am

    You might want to resist making broad sweeping generalizations and hyperbole about all humanity and and the embedded self-loathing in casually dismissing human societies as deplorable. Much as it is fashionable to wring our hands and condemn humanity, the show you are describing is not a theory of humanity. I live in Canada, and while not perfect, the blending of different cultures as well as new Canadians from around the world, the majority of whom are people of colour is demonstrably more successful than anywhere else in the world.

    Most western cultures are constantly seeking to grow in building societies that are equitable, that have space for diversity. And, to underscore, it is the western European and North American nations that tackle these issues, often as a priority. In Canada, you won’t get any traction in politics at any level if feminism, LGBTQQIP2SAA issues, and rooting out racism aren’t up front and central in your agenda.

    For much of the world, none of these are really “issues” because racial hierarchies and ethnocentricity and homophobic intolerance are not viewed as problematic or unjust. But paradoxically, it is the societies doing what they can, inch by inch, confronting challenges, who are constantly condemned for how very awful they are. It is madness. North American societies, for all their failures were the pioneers of tring to build just societies, that held up human rights, equality, ethical laws and freedom to be. It has been a long constantly evolving and expanding journey of growing inclusivity, more and more complex understandings of cultures, racial relations, and systemic issues.

    And yet younger people seethe and froth with hate and this sense that all of history and this imaginary monolithic monster of old white men have been evil gleeful oppressors and that somehow the concept of justice was invented in the eighties or at best in the seventies with Feminism’s evolution into an angry ideology entrenched in opposition and the radical left discourse that reduces the world to a simple story of oppressors who are bent on terrible hateful aims and victims, who get to embody all the values thought of as good and those victims have to resist, fight, smash this enemy culture–usually dubbed the patriarchy–who are othered and dehumanized, ironically considering justice rhetoric.

    “The Culture” is viewed as an enemy, and as separate as though we weren’t all part of larger communities and all responsible for the good and bad in the world. All justice, equality, inclusion movements are products of their culture, not despite it, or to tear it down, but they have weird delusional mythologies of being separate from and not responsible in any way or capable of any negative aspects, that all falls on the wider demonized culture, but instead they see themselves as an elite enlightened class who are the keepers of virtue, cannot be challenged and must dictate to the enemy, summary judgements, criticisms, accusations, unquestionable rules, dogma and ideology, ever shifting goalposts, shaming, black and white distortions–it is endless and entirely contrary to what they say they believe about hierarchies, power, dominance. They are lost in ideological doublespeak and shameless unaccountability and yet these toxic people and their toxic movement are getting to define reality while rejecting any conflicting facts.

    I’m 48 and just in my lifetime I’ve witnessed our culture massively and rapidly(by societal scaled time) change for the better, incredible amounts of change. When I was young violent hate crimes were perpetrated against homosexuals. Now they are celebrated, we have rainbows painted on our streets, rainbow flags, and they are an enormous political influencer in contrast to being such a tiny tiny demographic Women and people of colour and recent immigrants are filling more and more political offices, radically remodelling demographics. All institutions and companies have policies and training for everything from gender sensitivity, to disability inclusion, sexual harassment departments, vigilance over microagressions, to transphobia education seminars.

    Our learning institutions revolve around these themes and the demands of disparate intersectional groups who then fill and define and shape the media, our cultural conversations, and the values espoused and scrutinized in arts and entertainment. There is hardly any corner of our society that is not utterly saturated with these ideologies and prioritized issues. And yet the voices of those groups and of justice activists get more and more rageful, more polarizing, promoting more and more tribalism based on identity, colour, gender. They’ve become promoters of alienation. It’s now normal to think of these differences as paramount and beyond any way of meaningful understanding if you are different and outgroup.

    These voices describe the world like it was some Stalinist nightmare. I commonly hear women say “things are worse than ever”, despite the reality that they are both the majority in number and success in school at every single level, are climbing more and faster economically, than their male counterparts. They have boards, associations, commissions, legal bodies, extra legal protections, and committees in every institution devoted specifically to their needs. They have their own department in universities everywhere devoted to studying and promoting themselves and busily engaged in social engineering and wield considerable influence on policy.

    Our Prime Minister made his cabinet 50% women, our national police force is run by a woman whose mandate has nothing to do with law, order or crime, but is to eradicate gender and race discrimination. Woman are a minority of the victims of violence. Men are victims of assault at five times the rate of women, and the numbers for family violence(fairly evenly divided for male and female perpetrators), and for sexual assaults have been steadily in decline for fifteen years, even as more and more attention is placed on these areas and we have a whole cultural narrative supporting victims, talking, believing. As well, there is extensive, comprehensive government funding for every conceivable victim service for women.

    We literally have zero for men and our prime minister flat refused any support for male services and declared that men were perpetrators and women were victims, in bald denial of his own statistical research department’s data–reality meant nothing, only feminist ideology. Women have better access to physical and mental healthcare than men. They are heavily heavily favoured in family courts over men. Yet, in this world, all I hear is how terrible it is, how unbearable, and unacceptable, how it villainously oppresses them and needs to be dismantled and that things are ever worsening.

    Reality is now so completely unrelated to the ideological, rhetoric driven, dystopian narratives we are indoctrinated with and inundated with every day–like your casual condemning of humanity. It all dictates pathological and destructive beliefs that create chasms of conflict, and define everyone as a vulnerable good guy, or else a villain and natural enemy. I commonly see justice oriented left leaning people espousing that dissenting voices, different priorities, different political positions should be censored, banned, excluded. I read a policy recommendation paper recently on social media moderation that stated, “vile voices should be silenced. Facebook’s censorship department head reported in Wired, that she believed hate speech needed to be policed and stopped, except for hate speech against men, which she believes should be supported. Facebook now deletes political discussions when they fall to right of center. It is increasingly common on the left to literally believe that those they don’t consider allies shouldn’t have the same rights, shouldn’t have a say or get a vote, that they are enemies and need to be stopped and controlled. That sounds frighteningly dystopian to me. It doesn’t sound like who I want splaining to me what I should believe and do for social justice. That is a powerful and unchecked segment of humanity that is rarely called out, let alone casually condemned the way you tarred whole societies and humanity as racist, hate driven and oppressive.

    • September 1, 2020 at 10:30 am


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