Pet is a low budget, vaguely homoerotic supernatural thriller that recalls the pulpy late-night anime of the Noughties. As such, it won’t win praise for its subtly, but is still a pretty good time.
A boy is born with psychic powers. He grows up to be a gangster, brainwashing and manipulating low-lives into doing bad things, and then making them forget it ever happened.
Is it any good?
Pet is promising, but difficult to pin-down after just this one episode. Clearly, it’s a low budget affair, the kind of seinen horror anime that doesn’t aspire to be well-animated or popular (I’m thinking of stuff like Sci-Fi Harry and Blassreiter here) but is basically entertaining. Pulp anime is another way of putting it: melodramatic characters doing bad things to each other, which, I admit, doesn’t exactly sound like a good time, yet works in inventive ways.
There’s also an undercurrent of homoeroticm: men touching hands, open-shirted, getting into water fights and changing clothes together. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the author of Pet‘s manga, Ranjō Miyake, had written boys-love stories in the past, it just has that aesthetic.
(This is what it means to damn a series with faint praise, isn’t it?)
What are you worried about?
Pet walks a fine line between interesting and bland.
I have faith in director Takahiro Omori, at least. He has worked on a lot of good anime in the past and he surely wouldn’t knowingly walk into working on a dud manga. It’s just that this episode was neither convincing nor sympathetic. We still need a hook; something to make us care.
The images that I’ve chosen hopefully speak for themselves because Pet has some colourful and fun visuals when it dives into the crazy waters of the human mind, it just needs a personality to match.
I would also note that this was originally set to air during the Autumn 2019 season, but supposedly wasn’t ready and had to be delayed until now, hinting at problems behind the scenes. Which is to say, I hope the animation doesn’t collapse.