The bad-ass old man is a common trope in anime. In general the old man has massive experience in combat which makes them superior in battle. They often use their acquired knowledge to help the future generation learn. However, the title character of Inuyashiki, Inuyashiki Ichiro is anything but. He’s 58 but looks 80, something that is mentioned in the first episode. He’s just moved into a new house with his nagging wife and unappreciative kids, they hate their new home and aren’t too embarrassed to tell him. They leave to go have dinner without him while he unpacks the moving boxes himself.
Inuyashiki heads to work where he seems to be the oldest person at work and is irritated by the young commuters on the train. He finds a dog and brings it home. His wife and kids seem annoyed that he did. He promises to keep it in his room and names it Hanako. The next day he receives news that he has cancer and will die within three months. Inuyashiki calls his family to inform them of the terrible news and none of them answer his calls.
While walking Hanako, he and a young man are hit by what appears to be a alien space ship. They “restore” the young man and Inuyashiki using their weapons systems. Inuyashiki awakes still in the park, he returns home and notices that he’s thirsty all the time, his back no longer hurts and he can see without his glasses. Unsurprisingly, his cancer “mysteriously” disappears, baffling the doctors. Inuyashiki begins to feel weird and triggers some sort of reaction and begins to give off steam. Hanako licks his palm resulting in his arm transforming into a gun like weapon, but it shoots his dinner from the day before on the wall.
Apparently, none of the teenagers in the series are good people, as a group of them torture an old homeless man. They shot him with firecrackers setting him on fire as he begs for his life. Inuyashiki arrives and begins to walk towards the teens, they surround him and beat him with bats. While on the ground apparently unconsciousness, a camera in the back of his head activates and scans the park, targeting the teens. He shoots white beams at them knocking them to the ground, saving the homeless man. The same camera downloads all the social media information and their identities posting them on t.v. for everyone to see. Inuyashiki is tearful as he realizes that despite his transformation into a robot he remains “a person.”
Most anime/manga don’t focus on older protagonists and that’s a little refreshing. The series is both nihilistic and hopeful, but at different times. Inuyashiki is miserable all the time, no one in his life seems to like him or want him to be around. As a result he was the only character that was sympathetic, however, the dog Hanako and the homeless man become sympathetic at the end of the episode.
All three characters share a sense of helplessness as they are abandoned and find themselves to be lonely. Inuyashiki saves all of them. Hiroya Oku clearly has some commentary regarding young people’s obsession with phones and social media and how both can make them dehumanize humanity. The opposite message seems to be represented by Inuyashiki, who is ostracized by the self involve society and he literally stops being human. However, he manages to remain a emotional being unlike the teens, despite no longer being a human. Oku’s message might be too ham handed for some, and his story might be too deary, but I’m invested.