BEM: Season 1, Episode 1 “Water” [Series Premiere] – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Title Card - BEM Season 1, Episode 1 Water [Series Premiere]

BEM may not blow you away with its art style or characters, but it does create a world which you may want to see more of


BEM may not blow you away with its art style or characters, but it does create a world which you may want to see more of


Network
Funimation
Creator(s) ADK Emotions
Director(s) Odaka Yoshinori
Writer(s) Tomioka Atsuhiro
Air Date 7/14/2019
Genre(s) Action, Crime, Fantasy
Good If You Like Goody Two Shows Cop Working In The Worst Part Of Town
Isn’t For You If You Want A Charismatic Lead Or A Villain Who Incites A Response
Introduced This Episode
Sonia Uchida Maaya
Belo Ono Kenshou
Bem Konishi Katsuyuki
Bela Mao

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The Introduction

In what is known as “The Outside,” the seedy place of the city, cops have long traded in any sense they can control the town alone and instead work with the local gang “The Helmsmen.” This doesn’t settle well with a new transfer name Sonia who, after ruffling too many feathers due to her by the book ways, was punished in the form of being sent to “The Outside.”

However, the real punishment might be that criminals from “The Outside” are beyond thugs, drug dealers, and your general miscreants. There are monsters and demonic-looking beings moving about. Something which doesn’t become known to Sonia until she is facing them, firing her gun, and learning that gun is by no means an equalizer. Making her lucky there is a small group, composed of Bem, Belo, and Bela which helps fight their own kind in the hope that, one day, it may allow them to become human.

On The Fence

The Villain

The water monster's face.

A monster which drowns its villains then leaves isn’t the worse thing imaginable. The problem is, between the art style and mania of the villain, what is more frightening is their potential than what is delivered. For what you get is someone annoying, who seems like that minion you can’t wait to see killed just so you know you will never have to hear their voice again.

The Dichotomy Of Uptown and The Outside

With cop shows, they can either hyper-focus on the cops, have it where you see the world from their eyes, or present you a world and flesh it out. Make it so that, rather than a medium, the cop is like your partner who is showing you the ropes as you, wide-eyed, take everything in. Due to how the camera swoops about, BEM leans more towards you feeling you are doing a ride-along or are a partner rather than seeing through another person’s eyes. Making it so, while we mostly see “The Outside,” take a look at the skyline makes Uptown seem like the place to be. Where many aspire to but just couldn’t catch a break. So their frustrations lead them to become like this episodes villain and lash out at the world and anyone who can find any joy living downtown.

The Pursuit To Become Human

While Bem, Belo, and Bela have no real personality, I must admit their desire to be human brings on some interest. Mostly in the form of why and how exactly that could happen? But, I must admit, the intrigue is not so stimulating I’d journey to spoil the story for myself.

Bem (Konishi Katsuyuki)  before fighting the water monster.
Bem (Konishi Katsuyuki)

Sonia As The Lead

In a recent Hollywood Reporter roundtable, one of the things noted was that the issue of playing the hero is that things happen to them and we’re spent just watching their reactions. When it comes to Sonia, following her reactions to monsters and “The Outside’s” culture doesn’t bring you to think you must watch this show. Heck, I’d submit, if she died in the first episode that would have done more than having her live to see episode 2. For she is just such a square that she seems like she’d make a better sacrificial lamb, to make it seem anything could happen on this show, rather than that lucky woman who somehow doesn’t get killed. Even when people around her, with one swift movement, get cut in half.

The Art Style Seems Inconsistent

Though no part of BEM has Square Enix level details, there are shifts from average-looking scenes to ones which seemingly didn’t get any sense of polish throughout the episode. Which, considering the difficulty of drawing and painting you want to forgive. Yet, being that anime isn’t free, it is frustrating that you are paying for something which seems like it could have used one more season to be, visually, at its best.

First Impression: Mixed (Stick Around)

There is just nothing about BEM which will blow you away. Which isn’t to imply it is bad but, considering it is a show behind a paywall, it is hard not to expect better. For with dull characters, villains who don’t inspire the thought of “What will they do next” or “I can’t wait till they get their comeuppance!” there isn’t anything to push you to move forward. Yet, this gets a mixed label for it could get better. We don’t necessarily have a great deal of faith saying it will, but being wrong is great when it comes to new media. Plus, while unremarkably average, we can’t say there are a string of terrible things which will make you stop watching. Well, beyond, if you watch through Hulu, dealing with commercials.

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