The title characters from this series are beings that can’t be killed and have unique abilities that involve shadow-forms and a voice that can paralyze then make you do what they want. Average high schooler Kei couldn’t be bothered to care about things like that as he studies to pass his mid-terms. At least, that is until (wait for it…) he gets hit by a truck and turns out to be a Demi-Human himself. Now he’s on the run from the people in his town who want to catch him for a reward while the government and some other shadowy forces want to secure him for their own reasons. The only person he has in his corner is Kai, an old friend who’s now regarded as the class outcast. It’s basically “The Fugitive” by way of “Parasyte” and doesn’t display nearly as much imagination as any incarnation of those two titles. “Ajin” dutifully follows the path laid out by countless series before it as Kei’s situation grows more complex and desperate and I found it really hard to get involved given how easy it is to see where this title was going.
At this point, the only distinguishing things about the series is its level of violence and the horror touches that writer Tsuina Miura and artist Gamon Sakura bring to it in parts. The violence is only notable in the sense that the book’s style and concept would ordinarily mark it as a fairly standard shonen title. Yet with all of the bloodshed from the Demi-Humans and their resurrections it’s clear that the book is trying to appeal to mature audiences, though it lacks the substance to back it up. The moments of horror, usually involving the Demi-Humans’s shadow forms as they interact with people (before the bloodletting starts) are a bit more interesting but clearly not a focus of this series.
I can’t say that there was really anything about “Ajin” that impressed me, yet there wasn’t anything that completely turned me off either. The series at this point is just incredibly generic and doesn’t really compel me to feel one way about it or the other. So, I’ll be picking up the second volume because there’s always a chance things can improve here from this thoroughly inauspicious start. After all, a series has to be really goddamn bad for me to write it off after the first volume.