Image source: アニメ「いぬやしき」公式@2017年10‏ on Twitter

Two people are given otherworldly powers, an elderly nobody and a young student. One chooses to use his newfound abilities to help others. The other chooses… differently.

[Note: This article contains spoilers up to the second episode of Inuyashiki: Last Hero.]

The story of Inuyashiki: Last Hero centers around two individuals, the elderly Ichiro Inuyashiki and the young Hiro Shishigami. The two are caught in an accident when a UFO makes an unexpected stop/collision at their exact location. The aliens on board, wishing to avoid an issue, rebuild the two individuals’ bodies out of spare alien weapons technology and book it in what can only be called a dickish alien hit and run.

In the first episode, we see Inuyashiki come to the realization that he is no longer himself anymore. His body has been completely rebuilt as a cybernetic organism, allowing him to literally open up his own head and see inside. Faced with this horror and unsure of what to do, he follows his instincts. Highly empathetic, Inuyashiki saves a homeless man from being beaten to death by delinquents. Thanked and praised for his kindness, Inuyashiki finds himself crying tears of joy. He feels reassured that he is indeed himself and vows to use these strange abilities he’s been given to help others. In short, helping others allows him to feel truly alive.

Sad Old Man Gains Superpowers in Inuyashiki

The second episode centers on the other victim in the alien hit and run, Shishigami. We see that he is a high school student. His good friend Naoyuki Ando has been staying home from school after being bullied. Shishigami takes it upon himself to get his friend to come back to school. Initially, it seems like Shishigami, like Inuyashiki, is also going the path of generosity. However, we quickly see that things are very different, after Shishigami shows Ando what he has become. Shishigami shows off some of his new abilities to Ando. He shoots a crow with an invisible gun, he hacks TVs in an electronics store, and then he causes a massive pileup at an intersection by taking control of various cars.

After leaving Ando’s, Shishigami goes to a random house and murders everyone inside.

Image source: アニメ「いぬやしき」公式@2017年10‏ on Twitter

On its face, Shishigami’s actions seem like those of a psychopath, someone with no conscience. And yet, we are shown in various scenes that Shishigami is capable of empathy and kindness. He cries at stories, he appears to have a healthy and loving relationship with his mother and father, and he shows genuine concern for Ando—to the point where he is literally willing to kill for him. It’s just that his circle of empathy is extremely limited.

We are shown the core of Shishigami’s nature in a flashback scene when Shishigami and Ando were in elementary school. Shishigami makes a remark that people out of one’s immediate friends and family don’t matter. Who cares what happens to strangers? This is the driving force of Shishigami. There is a definite line between his family and close friends and the rest of the world. Anyone or anything on the other side of that line simply does not matter.

To a certain extent, this is an empathetic barometer we all have. Given the choice to help a friend and a complete stranger, most of us will choose to help the person we know. It’s just that, in Shishigami’s case, if the choice is presented to help one of two strangers, he wouldn’t help either. We see this in how when he is presented with the idea to be a superhero by Ando, Shishigami says it would be too much of a hassle and unrewarding.

Image source: アニメ「いぬやしき」公式@2017年10 on Twitter

For someone like Shishigami, being placed in the same position as Inuyashiki leads him to make different choices. Both Inuyashiki and Shishigami have been presented with the reality that they are physically no longer human. Their psyches both crave self-recognition that they are indeed still human, in that they can still feel human emotions. For Inuyashiki, this comes from knowing he has helped others. For Shishigami, this comes from watching people at their most desperate to survive. This, coupled with his new superpowers and established lack of empathy for anyone outside his own established circle of friends and family, leads Shishigami to seek fulfillment by killing random strangers.

Looking at all the elements that make up Hiro Shishigami, his slaughtering of unsuspecting families makes sense—as repulsive as it is to anyone with a normal moral compass. It’s this complexity that make him an interesting character and more than just your template agent of chaos, killing for killing’s sake.

Shishigami is capable of kindness and generosity. Just only towards those he directly cares about, unlike Inuyashiki whose compassion extends to anyone in need. It’s going to be interesting to see how Shishigami will react to encountering Inuyashiki, but even more so how his twisted sense of morals is going to make him handle the fallout of his friends and family finding out what he’s been doing in his spare time.

Inuyashiki: Last Hero can be viewed with English subtitles on Amazon Anime Strike.

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