“My Daemon” Season 1 Review: A Very Emotional Story of a Young Boy and His Demon Dog

My Daemon season 1 anime review netflix
Kento and Anna in My Daemon (Screengrab: Trailer)

My Daemon season 1 offered a very emotional yet predictable story of the unbreakable bond between a young boy and his dog. Well, it’s a demon dog, but a dog nonetheless.

Spoiler Warning: This review of My Daemon season 1 contains major spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

I still don’t know why I decided to watch My Daemon. Maybe it was the animation style? Or perhaps the emotional beats showcased in the trailer? Anyway, I watched the 13-episode first season in one sitting. And I have to say that while the emotional stuff hit the right heartstrings, the overall story wasn’t anything new. The entire thing gave me Pokémon and Godzilla vibes.

Which isn’t to say that My Daemon wasn’t enjoyable. It sure was. It’s just that don’t expect anything groundbreaking narrative-wise. However, there’s a religious element I feel that the anime could have done more with. But alas.

The premise involved a nuclear explosion causing daemon particles to be released across the world. These daemon particles, if left unchecked, gave rise to monster-like beings called daemons. Certain humans could also get infected by a daemon particle, with the human losing their life when it’s time for said particle to hatch.

Our young hero Kento is one of the people infected with a daemon particle. Already on a ticking clock, his life becomes tougher when he finds a little daemon in the park (or somewhere similar) and it slowly grows into a four-legged dog-like creature named Anna. While the rest of society is appalled by the sight of daemons, Kento can’t help but bond with Anna.

Kento’s entire thing is about connecting with daemons. And while that has to do with his empathic nature, the daemon particle inside his brain also allowed him to link with other daemons and understand their feelings. As Kento’s friendship with the many-eyed Anna continued to gain unwanted attention in his neighborhood, the creative team did a good job of slowly fleshing out the world of My Daemon

I really liked the creative elements when it came to the daemon designs and the various categories they belonged to. Such a fictional world contained daemons that could turn things invisible, regenerate, float like balloons, be anti-gravity, put others to sleep, and so on. There’s a particular daemon that could infect another being like a parasite to boost their stats. I liked how the infection resembled a cool mech-suit.

To keep the daemon population in check, there were humans who had trained certain daemons to fight wild daemons. That’s where the Pokémon comparisons came into play for me. However, the way people were shown to use their daemons was darker than what’s depicted in Pokémon. These daemons were nothing more than expendable tools being forced to put their lives on the line so their owners could collect a bounty. While certain humans were shown to treat their pet daemons humanely, they were an exception to the norm.

With a bounty placed on Kento due to Anna being considered a very important and dangerous storage daemon, the little boy and his pet found themselves on the run on a very personal mission. Though the motivation behind Kento’s journey was obvious, it was still an emotional moment when it occurred onscreen. And while Kento’s childlike resolve to revive his mother kept him going, I did like how the writers made him realize near the end of the season that what he was hoping for was unnatural. Kento needed to learn the importance of letting go and allowing nature to run its course.

I felt sorry for Kento when he deliberately decided to play along with a powerful daemon’s act of pretending to be his mother because he thought that with time everything would start feeling normal again. He’s a kid. I couldn’t blame him for thinking in such a manner. Heck! Even adults would have had a hard time facing reality under such circumstances.

Similar to Kento, almost every other human character had a backstory linked to familial ties. Kaede Houjou was one such major supporting cast member. She ended up helping Kento because she was intrigued by the bond he’s created with Anna. She’s got her own mysterious backstory connected to the Peace Organization (an organization that kept an eye of daemons and conducted research) and the disappearance of an entire island along with its inhabitants, including her mother.

There’s a whole lot of emotional family stuff going on in My Daemon, which I understand. But I would have liked to see more characters that were motivated by goals not directly linked to their loved ones.

The Godzilla comparisons came in when the story explained how the nuclear explosion breached the veil between Earth and Hell and how the daemons were basically demons coming to Earth as a punishment from God because humanity’s greed for power had grown out of control. The big bad of My Daemon season 1 took it upon itself to end humanity once and for all after witnessing the cruelty humans showed toward daemons, including the ones who wouldn’t or were incapable of hurting humans.

Kento’s Talk No-Jutsu of creating a world where daemons and humans could live together in harmony helped the villainous daemon simmer down a bit. But frankly, considering how dangerous certain daemons were shown to be, I think humans had the right idea of exterminating certain creatures. But let’s see what Kento’s able to accomplish as the newly assigned daemon-human mediator.

Considering the daemons being sent from Hell and the human soul was supposed to be disgusted by them, I do feel that the religious element of the narrative should have been stronger. We do see a bunch of nuns preaching about the religion they followed in such a fictional setting and how humans should stay away from daemons. However, I think there should have been a very powerful religious establishment, at least on par with the Peace Organization, that stood against humans training daemons and even using daemons for research purposes. We know how far certain people are willing to go in the name of religion when faced with dire situations in a real-world setting. That’s why not seeing religious extremism in a world like My Daemon felt a bit odd to me.

Along with the heavy-hitting emotional stuff (the scenes between Kento and Anna when they are forced to be apart – my heart!), there’s a whole bunch of action in My Daemon. Even though Kento and Anna aren’t trained fighters, they are survivors. Anna’s ability to store and retrieve items from a mysterious space was used well to ensure Kento and her were able to survive difficult odds without it feeling too unrealistic. I too would like a daemon dog that functions like an infinite loot bag.

From Igloo Studio, the animation style looked visually appealing to me when it came to worldbuilding. Certain scenes looked amazing because of the color palette and the lighting choices. However, I could see certain viewers not being fans of the movement style involving the human characters. A friend of mine brought this concern up while watching the show and I suggested viewing it on 2x speed. It kind of helped. But you do you.

A thing that did surprise me was the unexpected queer representation in My Daemon. It’s nothing too blatant, but it was still nice to see at least one character who was clearly supposed to be queer due to the very prominent Pride pin she’s wearing. She’s also one of the coolest characters on the show, with a partner daemon that can open teleportation doors for quick getaways like a ninja.

Written by Hirotaka Adachi, My Daemon season 1 was released on Netflix on November 23, 2023. Each episode in the 13-episode season runs approximately 20 minutes.

Have you watched My Daemon? What did you think of it?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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