“The one with the sharpest fangs wins. That is what Killing Bites is.” -Uzaki Hitomi.
Yeah so…that’s said every episode whether you like it or not. Think of it as the catalyst for the plot armor to activate. I wish I was kidding.
Four powerful companies fight for power and control over each other. In order to settle their feuds, the four companies have put funding towards therianthropes, people who’ve had their genetic code infused with that of an animal that allows them to transform into the biological weapons of the animal of their choice called Brutes (cause that’s totally how genetic engineering works), participating in cockfights called ‘Killing Bites’, where the Brutes fight one another and the winner gets dominance over the other three companies as a result. And so we find ourselves with Brute Ratel, a fairly unknown fighter who throws a wrench in the Killing Bites…and the guy who I guess is the main protagonist.
Alright, not gonna sugarcoat this; Killing Bites is a glorified dick measuring contest disguised as a giant cockfight with the politics and warring powers who sponsor and host the Killing Bites acting as a backdrop to the whole thing and don’t really matter. The story features only one official “Killing Bites” match, featuring twelve participants who gloat so much about their supposed dominance to the point that when the show decides to give them each a pitiful excuse for a backstory to explain how and why these Brutes even went through with the therianthropy treatment to become the human/animal hybrids that they are. Something that you end up not caring about cause it doesn’t matter anyway considering prior to this knowledge, much of what you know about them is-
“I AM THIS ANIMAL. I CAN DO THIS. YOU CANNOT DEFEAT ME BECAUSE I CAN DO THE THING THAT THIS ANIMAL CAN DO.” Which doesn’t really count for much cause you lose your impact when everyone fucking does this.
Because of how the show’s structured, the story is mostly style over substance, utilizing the egos of Brute Ratel (Hitomi as she’s called), the other Brutes, the members of each company…basically everyone but the one guy who’s supposed to be the male protagonist of the show to enhance the viewing experience of the savage battle royale to make it feel exciting. Which honestly kind of works, if only to make the show dumb fun. Every aspect of the show is exasperated to the point that everything is so bullshit that it’s more funny than anything, especially because the show has a dedicated narrator who explains animal facts like the Animal Planet so that the viewer is aware of each animal’s parameters and why/how they’re able to pull off the bullshit that they do, which isn’t hard because the amount of things the show tries to get away with with is so out there that not even suspension of disbelief alone will get you very far.
As a show, Killing Bites is a show whose entire identity lies in how brutal its fights can be and how big of a dick everyone has from showing off their strength and proving that they’re better than everyone else. I’ll give credit where credit is due, the show’s actually pretty brutal. And though from a narrative standpoint the show flops because the entire narrative is just a backdrop, it’s at least fun enough to watch just to see the kind of bullshit that they’ll do, cause bullshit can be fun if you’re in the mood for it. There’re also a few weird tone shifts in the beginning episodes, and a major twist at the end of the series that’s pretty “What the fuck?!”, so watch out for those.
+ Savage as the box said it is
+/- Lots of things require suspension of belief
– Gloating gets really old, really fast
“The one with the sharpest fangs wins. That is what Killing Bites is.” Yeah, even if you’re sick of it, it’s not gonna stop her from saying it all the fucking time. Hitomi, or Brute Ratel, is a character that in four words, “Doesn’t give a fuck”. As a human/ratel, or as it’s more commonly known, the honey badger, Hitomi’s defining trait is to get what she wants, pick fights with anyone who doesn’t agree with her, and threatens to kill said person who doesn’t agree with her. She is the human embodiment of the honey badger, which as amusing as it is, makes her a terrible character. Though her personality doesn’t come into play so much as the amount of plot armor that she has, which weirdly enough is validated enough that I feel does get a pass in the realm of bullshit. Cause honey badgers are basically nature’s middle finger, capable of fighting predators many times larger than itself, shrug off cobra venom, and survive gunshots if shot in the wrong place, which only makes them angrier. It is because of this quality that makes Hitomi such a weirdly polarizing character, in that everything does make enough sense when put in context, but it’s still bullshit.
Nomoto however is one of those characters you really can’t make a positive case for. The guy’s spineless and just ends up being dragged through everything that happens in the show, having little to no impact to the overall plot cause he quite frankly doesn’t want to be in the world of illegal human/animal cockfighting and doesn’t really make much of an effort to escape or man up, which in the one scene he tries to make an effort ends up getting shot down cause the show always wants him to play the beta male, which becomes even stranger with the weird buildup at the end where he’s put into the spotlight which, prior to that, was someone who had almost no reason to be in this show in the first place.
Other characters don’t really matter. The Brutes themselves all have a pretty simple and self-explanatory backstory that you probably won’t care about cause they take all but five to ten minutes to explain with very little impact to your feelings towards them because half of the time they’re gloating about how strong the cobra, the tiger, the alligator, (insert another animal here) is before getting an arm or a leg chopped off because they didn’t pay enough attention in zoology class to know that their opponent’s animal is capable of doing such a thing. In the same vein as that, the company heads don’t matter in the slightest and their power war is basically irrelevant. The only other character I would say matters in this show is Dr. Shidoh, Hitomi’s guardian who acts more like a plot device cause despite what everyone in the show says, he doesn’t actually do anything and only serves to advance the plot vaguely towards a penultimate thing that leads into the next arc that we’ll probably never see unless we get a sequel.
+ Characters are…entertaining
– Male MC is pretty useless the way through
On the topic of art, what Lidenfilms ended up producing is honestly not all that interesting to look at. The show at most looks average, and the quality of the show itself is far from anything strikingly appealing to look at. It also doesn’t help the fact that most of the show takes place at night, so that in and of itself makes everything that much harder to see, especially because about half of the fights take place in near darkness, and seeing only the glowing eyes of the characters isn’t great.
The fight scenes however were honestly what I expected, and then some. The fights are very messy and brutal in nature, constantly filled with injuries and bloodshed from the savagery of these people fighting which honestly was the best part of the entire series. Cutting off limbs, pouring out pools of blood; the show didn’t shy away from being as gruesome as it could possibly be, and that’s something that I can give the show credit for because it at least proved that it could be as unforgiving as nature can be. Though can I just take a moment to say how dumb the names of their attacks are? Slash. Freaking…”Slash”. Like come on, you can come up with something better than that. A seventy power a hundred accuracy move is not cool a enough name to say when you’re cutting some poor fucker’s arm off.
I also find it weird, but not at all surprised that the designs of the Brutes are what they are. Because this is Japan, the girls end up looking like Kemonomimis primarily looking human with a few animal parts when transformed, while the guys pull off a complete transformation and look like a bipedal version of the animal of their choice. And Hitomi fights wearing a white tank and her underwear. Truly this show would not be complete without its fanservice. Clearly. It’s also worth noting that two brutes in the series are rendered in CG in, which is glaringly obvious when they show up on screen. Thankfully it’s not overly jarring, so it’s at least acceptable to an extent.
+ Gruesomely good fight scenes
+/- Fanservice designs?
– Terrible attack names
Fripside’s “Killing Bites” is really what you would expect from the band. Most of their work is very samey sounding, and listening back to both Clockwork Planet and Black Bullet gives me the same feeling as I get from listening to the other two, though personally I prefer those two to what Fripside has done here, so I regard this OP as inferior in comparison.
Kitsunetsuki’s “Kedamono Damono” on the other hand is a pretty generic rock song with a numerous amount of guitar rifts to give it flair between the lyrics. I’m not really feeling this one either, and the entire OST by itself is not really all that exciting if you ask me.
Honestly I think I enjoyed this show a hell of a lot more than I ever should have. I partially blame this on the fact that I generally go with the flow on things, and since everything here was a big case of “Just go along with it”, I think that’s the reason why I’m able to sit here and say that I liked the show simply for its dumb fun. And that’s saying something with the amount of crap they try to pull with the amount of abuse any of these animals can take without dying, cause some of those ‘nonfatal’ wounds are very clearly fatal, especially from the blood loss of severed limbs.
I also want to point out that they have a character who looks like fat Wolverine with a puckered butthole for a mouth. Which that to me is hilarious cause I could not go one scene without laughing with him in the picture and take what he was saying seriously. Not like I was doing that in the first place, but you get my point. (No his animal is not a wolverine, no matter how great that would’ve been.)
Now the question is…should you watch this show? Personally…no. I mean unless you want to kill some time and watch something stupid, then no. There’s honestly nothing of value to be had watching this show aside from dumb fun. I just watched it out of morbid curiosity and I ended up having way too much fun with it cause I’ve reached the point in my life where anything can get a laugh out of me. I guess another reason would be…if you want to watch a nature show but you also want to watch anime, this could be that niche you’re looking for. A very odd niche, but one I’m sure exists…somewhere.