Fur-ever Conflicted

Let’s get one thing out of the way before I even begin: I am not a furry. Anthro characters aren’t my “thing”. Or perhaps more accurately, the fandom that has sprung up around such characters. It’s not my scene. But I am an anime fan, so by default that makes my tastes questionable to the mainstream anyway, and I’m not here to pass judgement. I am a fan of many fictional characters. Most are human (or humanoid, at least), some are animals (who doesn’t like Ein from Cowboy Bebop?), and ne’er the twain shall meet.

Or so I thought.

Actually, before I get to the inspiration for this post, I need to go back probably fifteen years to a little show called InuYasha. You may have heard of it. One of my favorite characters in this show is a fox demon called Shippo. He was a mischievous little guy, always good for some comic relief, and sort of a mascot for the main group. And he had both human and fox features. So I suppose that was the first sign that I could get behind a hybrid character like that. Actually, I don’t remember if I was even aware of the whole “furry” thing back then to begin with. Ignorance is bliss, so they say. I liked Shippo and thought nothing else of it.

That brings me to now, and the reason for this post. I have been perfectly content to let anthropomorphic characters exist, and not have any particular feelings about them one way or the other. But leave it to Studio TRIGGER to have me questioning my whole position on them with the series BNA (Brand New Animal), which quickly became one of my favorite works of theirs. I’m sure plenty of folks gave the series a hard pass after seeing the promo art, dismissing it as some creepy furry show. (While another faction was surely immediately drawn to it for the same anthropomorphic characters.) I just wanted to see it because it was Studio TRIGGER, and from the same director as Little Witch Academia.

BNA is actually a well-constructed series with some good writing and characters, and it works on a couple of different levels, with a depth I wasn’t expecting, but was most welcome. There are socially relevant themes which are given weight and explored, though some potential is lost with the short series length of only twelve episodes. BNA is definitely not “some weird furry show”. The choice of anthropomorphic characters was a very deliberate one by TRIGGER to tell the story they wanted to tell.

Michiru Kagemori (BNA)

Long story short, the lead in BNA has become one of my favorite characters. Her name is Michiru Kagemori, and she’s a tanuki girl. Not only is she a well-written character, but she’s also cute. I rooted for her in BNA the same way I did Akko in Little Witch Academia. She had a mission and I wanted to see her succeed. And I like Michiru without any qualifiers. No “Oh she’s a good character… for an anthro” excuses. I just like her. Enough that I wish there was a figure of her that I could add to my shelf. (I’ve had my Shippo plushie for years and years now, after all.)

So there it is. One of my newest favorite characters is a girl who is also a tanuki. And I’m totally okay with it because she’s just that awesome.

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